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At the height of Hitler's infamous U-boat war, the crew of the U.S.S. Swordfish were heading home after months at sea. They never made it. Now prisoners of war aboard U-boat 429, a small group of American survivors will find their loyalties put to the ultimate test when they're forced to join their German captors to fight for their very lives. Written by
Interesting coincidence that William H Macy, Lauren Holly and the USS Swordfish also appear in "Down Periscope" as well. See more »
While the sub is being submerged, several radio communications (voice and Morse) happen. While nowadays datagrams are possible, consuming a significant amount of time, during WWII subs had to surface, or at least go to periscope depth, to send or receive radio transmissions. See more »
This movie slipped by in the U.S. theaters, with DVD release only, so I found out about it from a U-Boat movie recruit friend. With William H. Macy, Til Schweiger, and Thomas Kretschmann (the latter now well known for his role in "The Pianist" there is no excuse for no release.
The details are well documented in other reviews. I have seen many such films, in German and English. After watching half in English, I purchased a copy in German (well-dubbed). I tend to find such films more convincing (easier to suspend disbelief), although the down side there is seeing American actors speaking perfect German. Well, perhaps there will come a copy someday with appropriate subtitles.
Of course, the film that really shows U-Boat conditions is the film Das Boot. I do not know the budget of this film, but the cramped quarters, filth, and unseemly conditions were not part of the budget.
However, the decision of the Kaleun (Kapitän-Leutnant) Schweiger to take on American prisoners (against Oberkommando des Kriegsmarines orders), deal with the inevitable conflict--American soldiers and sailors were well-indoctrinated to hate Germans--after the certain death of his daughter to Allied bombing is more than touching.
Kretschmann's performance is especially noteworthy. Although he once wanted an American Hollywood acting career, and has most frequently been cast as a German military man, all of these performances have been quite different, a testimony to some real acting skill. He has it in spades. Til Schweiger is, as I have read, a "matinee idol"--he does not have to act.
To war film afficionados, most highly recommended, to those who wish to see some great German actors, also highly recommended, and finally, to fans of William H. Macy, a guaranteed pleasure. There is enough WW2 period ambiance to keep this film in suspense.
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