The story ultimately revolves around two "men of honor"; their relationship, their individual and joint failures and triumphs. Carl Brashear is determined to be the first African American Navy Diver in a time where racism is rife. Leslie Sunday is his embittered trainer, determined to see him fail. Fate, challenges and circumstances eventually draw these two men together in a tale of turbulence and ultimately triumph. Written by
It is mentioned several times that Billy Sunday swam out of the St. Lo when she sunk. The USS St. Lo was an escort carrier that was the first major U.S. Navy ship to be sunk by a kamikaze. This happened during the Battle off Samar which was part of the larger Battle of Leyte Gulf. The St. Lo and several other escort carriers along with a handful of destroyers and destroyer escorts heroically held off a larger and more powerful Japanese task force whose mission was to shell the Allied invasion force preparing to re-take the Philippines. See more »
When the divers are inside the sunken ship, the hose is taped. The MkV diving helmet was replaced by the Mk12 in 1979, and taped hoses were not used until 1984. See more »
The inspiring story of Carl Brashear (Cuba Gooding, Jr.), a black man who grew up in poverty in Kentucky and then joined the US Navy, aspiring to be the first black Master Diver in Navy history. We are shown the series of struggles from boyhood on that Brashear has to overcome to make his dream come true (and then to keep it alive.) Not the least of the challenges was Master Diver Bill Sunday (Robert DeNiro), the head trainer at the diving school the Navy sends Brashear to, who is not especially sympathetic to Brashear's goals, but who ultimately becomes an unlikely friend and supporter.
This is a good movie; fast paced and with a lot of action, although not an "action" pic in the normal sense of the word. There's a very human story here as well, and an interesting study of racism and the struggle to overcome it; there's also a sense of the struggle that took place in the 1960's between older and younger naval officers (the "old navy" vs the "new navy.") The performances are quite good - particularly Goodings'. I thought DeNiro was perhaps a bit over the top in his portrayal of Sunday (although, who knows, Sunday might well have been this extreme kind of loose cannon) and the portrayal of Sunday's wife Gwen (by Charlize Theron) also made me question whether these parts were "jazzed up" to provide entertainment value.
A good movie, though. I never once wondered if it was worth tuning into.
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