Crimson Tide (1995) Poster

(1995)

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9/10
One Of The Best Submarine Movies...
underfire3511 February 2004
As CRIMSON TIDE opens we visit various crew members of the USS Alabama as they bid farewell to their loved ones. For one man, Lt. Cmdr. Ron Hunter (Denzel Washington), it will be his first time as second in command of a nuclear submarine. Capt. Frank Ramesy (Gene Hackman) is in charge and is not shy about letting everyone know. He is a seasoned veteran, as juxtaposed with the young idealistic Hunter. The early scenes do much to set up the main conflict of the film. For example when members of the crew discuss Carl Von Clausewitz, and his 1832 work Vom Kriege ("On War"), the intellectual showdown occurs between Ramesy and Hunter. This scene not only heightens the tension, but also reveals the different philosophies of these two men, what they believe in, why they are there. This short scene goes a long way to setting up why each of these characters are so unbending when the crisis presents itself.

The Crisis: The ship has been damaged and the EAM contact that has been received is disjointed. The Russian force (who is never very carefully explained) is fueling rockets for use against the US. That's all they know. The captain wants to surface and fire, Hunter thinks he's wrong. Factions form, but the film does a good job presenting a good argument for both desicions (although you get the sense that the film makers lean towards the "dove" side rather than the "hawks"). As tensions mount, there are various shifts in power and the crew stands divided. Every member of the crew watching as the minutes tick by, closer and closer to the final moment of truth...

Hackman is at the top of his form here as the relentlessly tough Ramesy. When given a good script with room to work, there is few better at creating a solid performance. The looks he gives, the way he uses his eyes, his speech patterns, simply wonderful to watch. Washington is just as good as Hunter, and the showdown between these two men, near the end, sends sparks flying off the screen. The rest of the cast is filled out with strong actors: Matt Craven, George Dzundza, (pre LOTR's) Viggo Mortensen, and (pre 'Sopranos') James Gandolfini.

As is well known, the script received various rewrites from Robert Towne (the Clausewitz scene), Steve Zaillian, and Quentin Tarantino (the Silver Surfer references, the scene where the crew chimes in about other submarine movies). All these different contributions blends fairly well together. The story is tough and direct, and touches on points that heighten the tension. The photography, by Dariusz Wolski (DARK CITY, THE CROW), is tight and atmospheric; Hans Zimmer's score pounding and reflective. The VIP vote, however, goes to Tony Scott, who proves himself with this film. He knows when to hold shots and doesn't rush the action (as he did with TOP GUN); he paces the film well and let's his actors work for him. CRIMSON TIDE is an entertaining and challenging film that, along with films like THE HUNT FOR RED OCTOBER and DAS BOOT, may set the high water mark (forgive the pun) for the genre. 9/10.
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8/10
Very well made military drama
mstomaso28 May 2005
The suspense is relentless in this believable, tense and superbly acted war drama. One of the best modern war movies I have seen, Crimson Tide is a story about strained loyalty, respect, command, discipline, power, and military practice. Hackman and Washington are perfectly cast as an older battle-hardened nuclear submarine captain and his younger, less experienced but highly educated executive officer, caught in a crisis of potentially world-threatening proportions. Pursued by an enemy submarine, the USS Alabama has nuclear warheads aimed and ready to fire as a pre-emptive strike against a Russian rebel commanding his own nuclear arsenal. The Alabama is commanded to launch, and begins preparations, but the enemy sub attacks, knocking out all communications just as a second command is being received. The nature of that second command and what to do about then becomes the key problem that the Captain and XO have to deal with. Suffice to say, they do not agree on how to proceed, and the remainder of the film is a struggle between the two men and those who support each, in a crippled but still lethal sub, with the fate of the world hanging in the balance.

What's is amazing about Michael Schiffer's story is its plausibility. The basic scenario upon which the script is based could happen. The cast - all of them - are spectacular, and the directing is masterful. Although some of the behavior of the men aboard the Alabama seems improbable at times, given the military realities of chain of command and discipline, the sheer performance power of this film's cast and production team make it all seem very real and extremely compelling. the characters are HUGE, complex, and real. More than just a cautionary tale, this is a very human drama about who people become under extreme conditions, and how they work out problems to reach solutions, or fail to do so. If that final sentence sounds cryptic, then let it entice you to see the film so you can figure out what I mean for yourself.
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9/10
Wow! What an adrenaline rush!
doofy513 September 2000
Crimson Tide is awesome in the way it creates intensity and non-stop adrenaline rushes using scenes full of action, and scenes that aren't. The torpedo attack with the Russian sub was so fast-paced and packed with energy that it makes you bounce in your seat. Gene Hackman and Denzel Washington gave awesome performances, and their growing tension towards each other is enough to keep the excitement at a consistent high through the last half of the film. I don't appreciate how Hackman's character is regarded by most moviegoers as a mad man. He is just simply a seasoned, tough-as-nails military officer who must assume that the US is in danger, and he must stick by the orders that require him to go to drastic measures to protect us. The director did a good job at raising the tension, even though the ending was very predictable. The message at the very start of the film set the perfect tone. The entire film is in a way scary by making us wonder if what would happen in a situation like this, and how could the military establish proper operating procedures for it. However, the message at the end of the film re-establishes some hope. 9/10, and I love the creative title.
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7/10
Tension and suspense achieved
Agent101 June 2002
This is the type of movie Tony Scott should have stuck to creating. While most Jerry Bruckheimer films prove to be bad, modern interpretations of old school martial arts movies, this was one of the better films Bruckheimer ever produced. While the story was completely plot-driven and the performances a little over the top, the rivalry between Denzel Washington and Gene Hackman made this film a cut above the rest of the trash Bruckheimer tends to produce. While simple and direct, it proves to be effective in the annals of storytelling, never overindulging the viewer.
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8/10
Intense!
SmileysWorld29 January 2006
I love this film for it's intensity,particularly the intense relationship of the characters portrayed by Gene Hackman and Denzel Washington.They are two men at odds in the worst of situations;the possibility of war.It all involves an incomplete transmission.It could mean war,it could mean nothing at all.What do you do?You could strike your enemy before he strikes you,but would the strike be uncalled for? It's the not knowing that creates the intensity.Hackman and Washington are excellent actors,which goes without saying since they are both Oscar winners,and they play off of each other extremely well in this film. This fact alone makes it a must see,but the film's content is equally as impressive.
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Red Alert, Red Alert, Red Alert, Red Alert....
tfrizzell10 July 2004
Tense little action thriller on par with "The Hunt for Red October" has a nuclear submarine commander (Gene Hackman) and his new second-in-command (Denzel Washington) getting in a chess match of words and wits ala "Mutiny on the Bounty". Russian rebels may be about to launch nuclear missiles at any moment. Commands come through for Hackman to detonate the weapons from their ship, but then another message after that one which is incomplete splits the entire crew. Hackman thinks it is time to take control with aggression while Washington believes that this is way too important without knowing everything there is to know. A wide range of characters on the submarine (which includes Viggo Mortensen, Steve Zahn, James Gandolfini, Rick Schroeder, George Dzundza) must decide which of the all-world performers they are going to side with. The screenplay is mediocre really, but Hackman and Washington know how to overcome that and director Tony Scott keeps the pulse of his audience in high over-drive. Definitely an acceptable piece from the genre. 4 stars out of 5.
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10/10
Denzel Washinton's best movie, period
shortround839110 April 2009
"Crimson Tide" is one of my favorites and to me is the best submarine movie ever made. And I don't understand why people say the "The Hunt for Red October" is THE submarine film. Because, to me THFRO was very long and moved at a snail's pace, and also the murky underwater action scenes were hard to look at because you could hardly see what was going on.

However, "Crimson Tide" is an improvement in my opinion. It's over 2 hours long, but its pace moves by so fast that you're not gonna realize it. But if you're looking for tons of explosions and gunfire, then this ain't your kind of movie, it happens to be more suspense-oriented. Otherwise, you can just check out "Die Hard", "Terminator" or "Aliens", for the action-packed extravaganza that most people want. But I guess the scene in which the subs face off and each are firing the torpedoes at each other could be considered action. And that scene in probably the best part of the entire movie since there is no way anyone could resist the suspense and especially when the sub is sinking and the water pressure is rising and it could compress at any second.

Without going on and on too much I'll just give the basic premise of the movie so you won't get too confused. It's been a couple years after the Soviet Union collapsed and now a radical leader and his followers are trying to takeover the Russian government and is threatening to launch nuclear missiles into both the United States and Russia itself if they interfere with him. And the USA sends a submarine with nuclear missiles out to the Pacific Ocean in case the event of when the Russian missiles are launched and they could instantly counter-attack. But the two commanding officers clash on whether or not the missiles should be fired since they are debating if Russia is attacking or not. But since they are so far down in sea level, they can't communicate to get their orders. At first, it may seem uninteresting, but you'll realize how much suspense and tension is in here when you see it.

As for the acting, well what can I say? Denzel Washington has gotta be the greatest method actor in Hollywood right now and "Crimson Tide" is a prime example. So far in his career, he already won an Oscar for "Glory" and "Training Day" in which he gave two outstanding performances that will forever be remembered in Hollywood. But his work in "Crimson Tide" is, and I dare say, tops both of his Oscar-winning performances. He plays the lead role as Lt. Commander Ron Hunter, who is objecting his Captain's orders to attack Russia since it would cause a complete nuclear holocaust with billions of deaths involved.

Gene Hackman, who is another Hollywood favorite, is Captain Frank Ramsey, the crazy old guy who will stop at nothing to ensure that World War III between the USA and Russia happens. His character even preferred to have a missile drill happening when the sub had a fire and its safety was endangered, and as a result an officer lost his life.

Hackman's character represents the way the USA was before in a time of war, and they seeked anything to get involved in that war so other countries would fear them. Washington's character symbolizes what the USA is like during the 1990's and they would try to stay as neutral as possible. Also, the scene when Denzel and Gene are arguing and shouting over each other about the nukes and before the mutiny happens has gotta be one of the greatest acted scenes ever. And this basically provides the tension that makes "Crimson Tide" what it is as a film. And the bulk of the movie, the question "Will they launch or not?" goes on. Just watch it and found out.

Also, the dialogue is among the best I've ever heard, and heck, I'll say that it even challenges "Pulp Fiction" as having some of the best lines ever. What's interesting is that Quentin Tarantino provided some of it in here and that's clearly evident. The Silver Surfer reference and the submarine movie trivia are the real punch-ups here. My favorite line from this is "You don't put on a condom unless you're gonna f**k!".

"Crimson Tide" is an excellent thriller movie that stands out because of the suspense, the tension, the acting and the punchy dialogue. Do yourself a favor and forget "The Hunt for Red October"! "Crimson Tide" will blow you away!
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7/10
Jon Monsarrat review: intelligent and thrilling
johnnymonsarrat30 March 2002
Although billed as a film about a deep issue (how much control submarine commanders should have over their nuclear weapons), Crimson Tide is really a straight action flick in my opinion. However, it is intelligent and definitely a cut above the action/thriller stereotype.

Superbly acted by the best -- never fail actors Denzel Washington and Gene Hackman -- they keep the tension at an eerily high peak throughout the film.

Who should see this film:

-- action movie buffs

-- borderline action lovers who won't build false expectations that there's a lot of deep issues and drama going on here

-- Arty types who are refined enough to appreciate the acting, sets, and dialogue even if they don't normally like action films

Suspense plays a large role in the film, so once you've seen it you know what's coming and may not wish to see it again someday. Only this limits it to getting a 7 out of 10 in my book.
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Good, but...
Ricardo_Aparicio24 August 2003
Enjoyable, good tension, good dilemma, good cast. But:

You have a movie like this where either Washington's or Hackman's character side could be right about their course of action. The aim of the movie, ostensibly, is to present both sides and let the viewer figure out which is the correct course.

But you can't possibly side with Hackman, can you?

After all, his character goes nuts when everything starts happening. His character is possibly racist. And his character is prepared to launch nukes. Washington's character is, quite nobly, none of those things.

Ho hum. Hollywood audience manipulation at its finest.

Would it kill these writers and producers to present a dilemma movie in an intelligent fashion for once? I'd like to struggle with "who's right and who's wrong?" just once in my moviegoing life.
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7/10
1.45 hours training in submarine command language.
fikamugg15 August 2011
Denzel and Gene are the perfect choices for the leads. The score is simply amazing and deserves the Oscar. But anyway during the after texts i felt relief. 1.45 h of submarine command language can take its toll and be pretty indigestible.

The only thing that prevents me from putting a solid 8 out of 10 for this effort from Tony Scott are the totally unnecessary racial remarks made by Hackmans character captain Ramsey at the end of the movie. The Lipizzaner dialog could easily have been replaced with something else. It was very irritating and ridiculous simply because if Ramsey had preferences in skin color, he wouldn't have chosen a black man as an X.O. in the first place, right?

The served purpose was of course to help the viewer to take sides in the conflict but the audience had already done that. The audience had already understood that Ramsey associated Hunter with Harvard and military school theory and that he thought of him as a softy. The moment Hunter takes control of the conn, the sympathies lies with him.

Ramsey with his happy trigger-finger and "shoot first ask questions later" attitude was the stereotype perhaps needed to push some moral points about the problems with blind obedience and the ever recurring need of critical thought (especially amongst men in control of nukes). The audience got it, but to make sure the viewers didn't have any sympathies for the old commie-hater he must be throwing some racial epithets too. The choice in making characters over explicitly bad is quite common in Hollywood though, but more often than not the drama itself suffers from this practice. Characters made more shallow and one-dimensional, who wants that except the studio bosses? If they dumb it down and keep it within the stereotypes maybe they think it's easier to go break even, who knows? But in the same way as the US military can be saved from personnel like Ramsey maybe a well educated middle class one day can save the world from risk reducing studio bosses by demanding a dismantling of the stereotypes we all cherished and consumed for too long.
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4/10
Appalling
Mister-S20 September 2003
What an appalling film. Don't get me wrong, Gene Hackman and Denzel Washington are good actors, but aside from a few interesting set pieces, the film is mostly taken up with hysterical submariners shouting, crying, sweating and generally freaking out when anything goes wrong.

Take that with simplistic asides to make sure the audience still understand what's going on (the scene where Denzel Washington explains to a radio repairman how he must be like Scotty in Star Trek is nothing more than a joke) and you have a dumbed down thriller not worthy of the acting.

Let us just hope that the real nuclear US Navy is not in the hands of such a script!
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1/10
Terrible Movie
kenboard2208 April 2007
As a former submariner, this was one of the worst submarine movies I have ever seen. First of all, a mutiny aboard any US Naval vessel, particularly a Nuclear Powered Trident submarine in unthinkable. These men are the best of the best and are dedicated to their mission. The responsibility they carry is awesome and they take it very seriously all the way from the Captain to the most junior crew member. I could never see a crew of any ship split their alliance between the Captain and the Executive Officer. An Executive Officer who acted as the Character played by Denzel Washington did would be relieved of his duties and Court Martialed, then drummed from the Navy. It is no surprise the Navy refused to send a technical adviser to help in making this film. Lastly, if any member of a submarine crew made the amount of noise made underway on this vessel they would be severely reprimanded. Submariners learn early in their career to be as quiet as possible to avoid detection. They don't slam doors and even speak quietly and wear soft soled shoes when underway. I was amazed at how loud they portrayed the crew while underway. Loud music would never be tolerated. I know portraying submarine life in reality would not sell movie tickets, but this is over the top to the point of being ridiculous. I would not recommend this movie to anyone.
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An excellent fast moving thought-provoking film
vad-21 March 1999
There have been few war-type films (Saving Private Ryan was another) which have been so thought-provoking. The acting and action was excellent as could be expected from such a cast so my comments are really centred on the story line and its presentation. Set in the scenario of the post-cold war Russia, which is still with us, the basic confrontation which faces every naval commander of a nuclear submarine was brought to stark reality in this film. Who has the final say when it comes to pushing the button? Dependence on technology which is not infallible highlights the weakness of humans who become its slaves rather its masters. Ultimately the stark choice between life and death, between fiction and reality can become blurred when cut off from the world inside a deep sea submarine. How many times has this happened one can only wonder. Since we are all here it can be assummed that the CExcO portrayed by Denzel Washington always won or the type of persons portrayed by Hackman do not exist. Good triumphed over evil.

I wonder what happened to the men who mutineered, they seem to have been forgiven, for an offence still punishable by death, at least in the British navy. It's easy to criticise many technical mistakes in the film and some of the improbabilities but the main points were made and shown well. This film rates just as high as Red October, which was of a similar theme but also excellent. I wonder if Burt Lancaster ever sees these films? In its day Run Silent Run Deep had a lot to recommend it, but that is for another Comment at another time when I see it again
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7/10
Count down three minutes till Doomsday.
michaelRokeefe17 May 2003
Excellent military drama with more intrigue and thrills than action. There is a clash of wills between the Captain(Gene Hackman)and his Lt. Commander(Denzel Washington)aboard the nuclear submarine USS Alabama. The mission is to avert an impending nuclear conflict with Russia. Hackman and Washington are tense and superb. Other submariners include:Viggo Mortensen, Rocky Carrol, Matt Craven, George Dzunda and James Gandolfini. Man the torpedos and stand by. You will witness that thin line between wrong and right.
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8/10
Crimson Tide
Prismark1015 February 2021
There is no doubt that Tony Scott's Crimson Tide ws greenlit on the back of the success of The Hunt for Red October.

This is a high octane thriller and I can understand why so many script doctors came on board to knock the script into shape. Including Quentin Tarantino. It was obvious his bit was about comic book characters and Star Trek.

Russia is under crisis due to rebel factions which means the USA are on high alert.

The nuclear submarine the Alabama is monitoring the Russian situation.

Captain Ramsey (Gene Hackman) is a highly respected veteran but he is also stern.

On board is the new Executive Officer, Commander Hunter (Denzel Washington.)

As tensions mount in the real world, the same happens in the submarine. There is a different iof styles and culture between the old fashioned Ramsey and the more modern and educated Hunter.

When the submarine receives some incomplete orders to launch an attack on Russia. Hunter relieves the gung ho Ramsey of command.

However Ramsey and his supporters do not take this lying down.

It is a well constructed screenplay and this was one of Tony Scott's better developed thrillers regarding pacing and tension. Without being explicit, there are themes of racial politics and this certainly comes to the fore when the crew take sides.

It is also an opportunity to see Hackman square off with Washington.

At the end Scott also has his A Few Good Men moment with a court martial scene. I felt that was tagged on and undercooked.
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8/10
Denzel Vs. Hackman on a Submarine is as Awesome as it Sounds
monkeysgalore20 April 2020
This is easily one of the best submarine movies. With Tony Scott's glossy, cool look and frenetic style, and top tier performances from Denzel Washington and Gene Hackman, Crimson Tide is a taut, intense thriller that really works.

Denzel and Hackman bring their A games. Both are just as fun to watch as ever, and Hackman plays his tough, grizzled old guy role to a T, with Denzel as the young upstart challenging authority to follow protocol.

This movie is drenched in Tony Scott. It feels so much like one of his movies that I smiled at one point. There are a lot of guns in this movie, and lots of standoffs (classic Scott), but it's interesting that a gun is never actually fired.

People call this an action movie, which I guess is kind of fair. It's an action movie in the same way that Top Gun (1986) is. There are two submarine battles, and some punches thrown, but that's about it. Don't expect lots of action.

I didn't really like how the movie respected both Washington's and Hackman's to the movie's central problem. It's basically rules vs instincts. Despite what the movie may say, Hackman is clearly the villain, and his actions are no longer noble by the end.

Probably one of the most underrated 90s movies, Crimson Tide is a great military movie and a solid effort from both lead actors.
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1/10
Red is dead
bobnewbie220 July 2007
This movie is an insult to ALL submariners. It was stupid. It appeared to have been written by monkeys. The acting was absurd. If this is the view most people have of the Navy, then I weep for our defense. This movie was awful. I put it below "Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea" as far as submarine movies go. Gene Hackman must have really needed rent money to do this crap. Denzel Washington must have been high. Little in the plot makes any sense. And the ending. For a mutineer to be rewarded for his crime? Only Hollywood would think of this garbage. If you haven't figured it out yet, I didn't like it. And if it wasn't for all the pro comments, I would not have bothered to post.
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3/10
Preposterous and absurd
jmorrison-223 July 2002
This movie was absolutely ridiculous and preposterous. Maybe part of the problem is I am former military, but this made me stop about 1/4 of the way through, and say "What the hell are they doing?"

I will say this was beautifully filmed, the cinematography was superb, and the tight quarters and claustrophobic feeling aboard the submarine was portrayed beautifully. The action sequences, and the tension were also portrayed very well.

But the content of the story was garbage. Nothing like this would ever happen on a nuclear submarine without dire consequences. The Captain of a ship has that position for a reason. He is the Commanding Officer of that ship, and that is a powerful, and sacred thing. To simply take over command by force because you don't "agree" with how he's doing things is behavior that used to bring the penalty of death. Basically, that's all Washington's character did. Whether he thinks the right thing is being done or not, the Captain is the Captain, and you cannot pull a stunt like this because you think you can out-think him. This was not a good example of a circumstance when a forcible take-over would be permissible. This was an example of new-age "self-esteem, assertiveness-training" hogwash. With Denzel Washington smoldering and strutting right through the middle of it.

Boys will be boys! At the end, Hackman and Washington are basically slapped on the hand, given a "stern talking-to", told to "not do it again", and allowed to go on their merry way. Everybody shakes hands, and the world is a better place for it. For crying out loud.........

Filmmakers feed us garbage like this because most people honestly don't know any better. This was laughable.....
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10/10
Permission To Be Entertained? Permission Granted!
damianphelps25 February 2021
Just brilliant.

This movie sells its character driven tension as good as any movie that's ever been made. A strong cast full of dynamos look like children next to Hackman and The Denzel.

Limited action but a feeling that its all going to hit the fan for the majority of the movie.

I'm not sure if I have ever met anyone who didn't appreciate this film.

Warning, once you watch it...you WILL watch it again!!!
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8/10
A deeply thoughtful tale from a bygone era
jbm8412 January 2021
I start by making the difficult statement that we don't do movies like this anymore.

This movie has no clear right or wrong answers, no clear villains, no clear heroes, it creates a doubt in the mind of the viewers that last until the last minutes, about "what would I do if I was in the position of any of these men?".

There is no forced moral tale, and there isn't - very refreshingly - absolutely no identity politics whatsoever. There is a diverse cast and not for a moment you are presented with a badly thought sentence cheaply inserted in the script, trying to tell you how the writer/director feels about their might morals and how the recognize the victimization of anyone. No, from the begging to end, the movie treats all it's actors the same, regardless of their skin coulour - who would have thought this was once possible?

The two main characters are on point, Denzel Washington representing the new generation, raised on the aftermath of WWII and Gene Hackman, as someone that actually had lived through it's horrors. Both with their own point of view, both simultaneously wrong and right. Add to this the fantastic quality of the support characters - later great actors on their own right, and you have a a trully great movie.
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Solid thriller with a great constant tension
bob the moo27 May 2002
Lt. Commander Hunter is drafted onto the USS Alabama before it goes to patrol the area around unstable USSR missile bases. When on patrol they receive a message that rebels have seized the missile silos and are preparing to launch and that the Alabama should launch. However while an second message come in Alabama is attacked and loses the radio message. Hunter believes the partial message is the order to stand down, while Capt. Ramsey is ready to ignore the message as it is impossible to authenticate it and wants to proceed with the launch. A battle of wills ensues while the clock counts down towards launch.

Submarine films always seem to very enjoyable – there's something about a pile of macho men trapped underwater in battles that is very cool. Here the action is mainly of the verbal/standoff type, but the film is better for it. The story does have some submarine battles in there – but mainly the sparks fly as the crew is split over whether to launch their missiles or not.

Washington and Hackman are both very good and they drive the film along but they have great support from people such as Dzundza, Mortensen. Brancato and Gandolfini are both good and would later both become famous via The Sopranos.

Overall this works well because the cast keep the tension high while the camera zooms round the confined space while the launch countdown continues. It may not be high art – but as a thriller this is very enjoyable, mainly because of Washington and Hackman.
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1/10
A major disappointment
Gatorman910 July 2003
As a former ballistic missile submariner I can tell you that this movie bears about as much relation to anything faintly resembling reality as Happy Gilmore does to professional golf - but at least the latter film was pretty funny in an Adam Sandler kind of way. Crimson Tide lacks any sort of comparable redeeming virtue, but is purely an adolescent fantasy best suited for those who have never considered actually thinking in the least about the subject matter of what they watch. This was a big disappointment for myself and other submariners, who out of some necessity HAVE actually thought about the issues it poses - after all, we were the ones who might have actually had to "push the button" (actually, it was a trigger in a pistol grip) in the middle of the night one night - and were left feeling very much let down by the film's complete failure to deal with them in a mature, adult, intelligent dramatic context. This is especially true given the tremendous potential of the leading players, Gene Hackman as the captain and Denzel Washington as the executive officer (always abbreviated in the Navy as "X.O." - who on earth who knew Thing One about the Navy - any part of the Navy - would ever refer to him as the "ex-o"?) and the more thoughtful way the plot begins to develop. But eventually it deteriorates into a far-fetched underwater version of a 1950's 'B'-grade western shoot-'em-up totally unworthy of its high-powered acting talent. Hoping for something along the lines of Seven Days in May or The Bedford Incident, or even Dr. Strangelove, we instead got something utterly vacuous.

As one submariner I know recently put it:

"When we went to see the movie in the theater, it was all I could do to keep from walking out. The premise depicted in the movie was so utterly ridiculous! In my view, there were two subliminal messages being conveyed. The first, that our deterrent system as it was in those days, had too many weaknesses to be reliable. The idea that those in the command structure would circumvent the safety controls and the procedures in place based solely on a some idealistic difference of opinion with the CO was completely foreign to me. Secondly, the racial overtones suggested in this movie were something I never witnessed during my 20 year career. It would be very naive of me to say those things didn't exist in other communities within the Navy, or in the other services. However, the crews of the 4 submarines I served in were all way above that kind of nonsense. The movie in question here didn't offer a true vision of reality but may have been a good Hollywood story. The problem was and is that the general public seems to accept these inaccurate depictions as the gospel truth."

If you feel you must see this film, I suggest the VHS version in preference to the DVD, because it should rent for less and thus you will waste less money .
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4/10
Hollywood Insists On Playing The Race Card
ccthemovieman-126 March 2007
When I watched this back in 1996, I enjoyed it was an interesting story, had two charismatic lead actors in Gene Hackman and Denzel Washington, good photography and sound and a nice feel-good ending.

It still had all of that watching it five years later but then, after seeing literally several thousand films in that five-period, the reverse-racism of it disgusted me.

Why is it that in every film I see in which the two main characters are white and black, the white guy is always the villain?? Talk about racism! The white guy is always like Hackman's character was in here. When are the filmmakers, all of whom are Liberals, going to stop treating one race better than another? Answers - when skin color doesn't matter anymore. Man, if this PC nonsense were the reverse, there would be a big outcry.

One other complaint about the film: the ending was way too contrived. Once again, we have the clichéd ending where the "countdown" to nuclear disaster literally goes down to the last second or two.
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4/10
Sorry - total downer
Joyce Hauchart10 November 2000
We laughed our heads off. This script is so incredible you either zap to CNN or go to sleep.

My dad was a sea captain for 30 years, he could not believe his eyes when he saw the movie.

During his experience as an officer he once claimed command over the ship, the captain drunk 3 bottles of whiskey/daily and (sorry) s**t on his desk. Of course this was not on a nuclear mission.

For instance, the fire in the kitchen, fire is the most important thing on any ship, nuclear or not. To give a drill at that time is just Hollywood script. When a captain is put under arrest, he IS under arrest, you take all his keys and open the safe where the guns are kept. This is stored within minutes in a well guarded room. He CANNOT escape, it's just like in prison.

Funny thing is, my dad also had a dog on board, however, we see how Hackman let him pee in the control room. This is not done, ever. My dad cleaned all the mess the dog made wherever he was.

Hackman and Washington make the three stars this movie is credited for, all the rest is bulls**t.

When we do know that 23 people were still alive on the Koersk, this film gets an extra dimension.

If you want to see a real thriller about a submarine rent: Thas Boat.
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A great film for...adolescent boys
boberck26 November 2000
Despite great acting, I didn't like this film very much because it is so cartoonish and predictable. We've seen it all before and we see it all coming: a cautious Washington pitted against the trigger-happy Hackman. The characters mouth overly dramatic platitudes. Technical and military accuracy is discarded in favor of ridiculous plot devices. Lots of torpedos and spraying water offer visual excitement. Lots of purple lighting sets the mood. At least it isn't as bad bad as any of the madman-with-nuclear-bomb-threatens-to-blow-up-the-city movies. I just wish they had put more substance into this action movie.
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