What it's about:
A rogue submarine captain pulls together a misfit crew to go after a sunken treasure rumoured to be lost in the depths of the Black Sea. As greed and desperation take control onboard their claustrophobic vessel, the increasing uncertainty of the mission causes the men to turn on each other to fight for their own survival.
What we thought:
Submarine movies are always prone to give the audience some intense claustrophobia, especially when tight spaces are met with devious plots and murder. A few times throughout I found myself holding my breath as the submarine slowly disintegrates and can’t think of many deaths as terrible. With the touch of British realism and far from Hollywood action extravaganza, Black Sea is what you expect it to be when a group of down-on-their-luck men hunt for gold in a submarine.Robinson (Jude Law) has just been fired from his submarine job and without any other applicable skills decides to take on a submarine treasure hunt for Nazi gold (of course), but his crew selection leaves much to be desired (note to self: when space is tight, one should not invite known psychopaths to partake in any trip). Things go wrong, and gold and lives are pitted against each other while they sink to the depths of darkness.Black Sea explores desperation that festers when someone’s livelihoods is taken from them, and is more poignant in the film than the lust for gold, which is only seen as means to escape the desperation. Oscar-winning director Kevin Macdonald is actually well-known for his documentaries (Touching the Void, One Day in September) and the critically acclaimed The Last King of Scotland, and one can easily spot the documentary style the film was shot, focusing more on the actions of characters rather than cinematography and well-placed camerawork. Law is great at playing the despondent, this-is-the-end look and although not his best performance, he gives it enough to be convincing. The rest of the cast seem like unknowns, but they are a collection of familiar faces that have just been in everything, including some Russian actors known in their home country (at least they don’t have fake Russian accents). Playing veterans of the submarine and diving business, they are also veterans in the movie business. Scoot McNairy is more notable as being part of the main cast in Oscar-winning films Argo and Twelve Years a Slave, but his character in Black Sea only serves as background character to move along a certain plot point. Karl Davies was more notable who convincingly pulled off playing a teenager despite the fact that he’s in his early thirties. That’s some dark magic right there.If you suffer from terrible claustrophobia, steer clear of this film unless you want horrible nightmare fodder, otherwise it’s an enjoyable yet predictable thriller best suited to Law fans and those that enjoy being a gazillion meters underwater in a tiny metal box.
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