#86: BLACK SEA
Directed by Kevin McDonald, written by Dennis Kelly. Starring Jude Law, Scott McNairy, Karl Davies Konstantin Khabensky, Grigoriy Dobrygin, Tobias Menzies, Ben Mendelsohn, Jodie Whittaker and Michael Smiley.
When Jude Law's Robinson is made redundant from his job as a submarine captain from a civilian salvage company, he is quickly lined up to take on the job on a life-time, salvaging 4 tonnes worth of Nazi gold from a sunken U boat at the bottom of the Black Sea. Putting together a mercenary rag-tag crew of Russian and western submariners, Robinson and co set sail in a 2nd hand rust-bucket of a soviet sub to the bottom of the blackest sea in search of fortune. But a word of advice to anyone reading this with a similar plan, I would suggest you try very hard to not employ someone you describe as a 'psycho' in the hiring stage of your plan, especially if you hope to succeed, because before you can say, 'that bloke looks like a right pscyho.' the submarine is crippled and marooned at the bottom of the sea on a sea shelf, with half the crew are dead and the only way to repairing the damage lying in the belly of the sunken German sub 100 metres away.
Me, I love submarines and love nothing more than a film about them. Some people might hold up Das Boot as an example of the best this genre can offer, while others claim Hunt for Red October or Crimson Tide, but for me it'll always be Operation Petticoat.
Anyway, this is quite a gripping and claustrophobic film which works best when it's about 12 men, six from each culture (Russian and British) struggling to work together and overcome a series of setbacks and disasters, less successful once the psycho does his stuff and the film becomes a fight for survival, but this is still an entertaining and gripping thriller. Kevin McDonald's direction is tight and adds to the claustrophobia and it's cast is good. Jude Law convinces, with ease, portraying a leader of men using the force of his personality to control and steer his men rather than strength, his painful backstory gives the film it's emotional backbone. Although starved of humour, this film still manages to punctuate the proceedings with rye comments and male-orientated hi-jinx that provides much needed laughter at some of the darkest moments.
It's a shame this film's ending screams it's arrival with the beginning of the third act, but it's still compelling and enjoyable.