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And we want you to know that this has nothing - nothing at all - to do with your performance, which is exemplary by the way.
[sighs looking out the window]
Look, the business has changed. Marine salvage has changed. We don't need a submarine pilot anymore. We don't even need a sub. Now, you've never been on contract, so redundancy, well, it's out of the question. But I spoke to Bob Toris personally and he has insisted that Agora make sure that there's something for you. And I'm ...
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Submarine heist that entertains & thrills adequately, logic be damned.
As submarine movies go, Black Sea is probably the best one this year. That it may be the only one certainly helps. Kevin McDonald (The Eagle, The Last King of Scotland) has delivered a Boy's Own adventure under the sea that is part thriller, part drama and could easily have been a Desmond Bagley novel forty years ago. And that's no bad thing.
When submarine pilot Captain Robinson (Jude Law) is made redundant, he seeks solace in the company of a pint and some former colleagues. One of them mentions a missing German U-boat that was lost in the Second World War, laden with gold bullion from Russia, Robinson sets a plan in motion to seize the gold and end their financial woes. With an investor in place, a rusted submarine and a motley crew comprised equally of Brits and Russians, Robinson heads into the depths of the Black Sea for a deep water heist, but a tin can filled with greedy, desperate, jealous men doesn't bode well
There is nothing remarkable about Black Sea. It lacks the tension of Das Boot, doesn't rewrite history quite as horribly as U571 and doesn't quite hit the (dated) adventure of The Hunt for Red October, but it is an enjoyable romp of angst, betrayal and underhand tactics that fills an evening quite adequately.
Screenwriter Dennis Kelly (Utopia) either doesn't understand the law of physics or has decided to bend them anyway but the screenplay rattles along quite nicely, building the drama, adding the odd explosive scene and even managing one or two very funny quips. He establishes a crew of embittered men on opposing sides without making any of them too much of a caricature. There are a few missing beats and some clunks as logic and reason tumble down the gangway but, for the most part, Black Sea holds the attention and entertains. There is little to surprise but, as long as the viewer isn't too bothered by historical or scientific accuracy, there is nothing to really disappoint.
Jude Law makes for an enjoyable, grizzled hero though he isn't given enough to add depth to his character. The soft flashbacks and memories of his estranged wife and son are intended to add meat to his bones but there isn't enough in them to make us really care and they are more distracting than affecting. We understand and care more about Tobin's (Bobby Schofield) emotional predicament through a brief exchange between captain and junior than the entirety of flashbacks from Robinson.
Black Sea has the feel of a movie dumped on the world because it is too light to feature in the summer blockbusters, too small (of budget) to compete against Hollywood's big studio flicks and doesn't even pretend to have any merit when it comes to awards season. For a low budget British adventure thriller it serves perfectly well on a cold, damp, winter's evening for a certain type of cinemagoer who is already sick of the barrage of Christmas schmaltz and family fare at the multiplex.
If you want entertainment with a smidgen of mystery, a dollop of action and a hint of thrills, Black Sea does the job adequately.
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