(I) (2013)

Critic Reviews



Based on 22 critic reviews provided by Metacritic.com
Much of what's contained in Phantom is at best speculative and at worst completely made-up. But, regardless of the accuracy, it makes for compelling viewing. Phantom is one of the best films of a lousy early 2013 release roster.
Manly, sharp-edged submarine B movies don’t come along often anymore — so consider this Cold War off-white-knuckler a welcome blast of recycled air.
Robinson manages some suspense, but the thriller’s ticking clock is a weak one.
To be honest, I can rarely recall any film, on any subject, that made less sense.
Though pitched as a thriller, Robinson’s woefully underbudgeted film plays instead like a chamber drama, so simple and unadorned that it could just as easily be staged as an off-off-Broadway play without anyone telling the difference. And that isn’t entirely to the film’s detriment, either: With a cast choked with great character actors like Ed Harris, William Fichtner, and Lance Henriksen, less is sometimes more.
Robinson is undone partly by his own workmanlike touch as a writer, and partly by matters of casting. I like Harris, and he's quite moving here, but every time Duchovny reappears the overall energy level sinks to crush depth.
The potential for screw-tightening suspense gets lost amid the ineffectual dramatics in Phantom, a feeble fictionalization of a crucial but little-known moment when a rogue Soviet submarine brought the world to the brink of nuclear war.
Village Voice
The ensuing suspense story is a pastiche of familiar tropes—effectively paced, but without originality. And what is up with combinations of Ed Harris, water, and unbelievably hokey endings?
Despite the world-changing ramifications inherent to the plot, the results are more tedious than thrilling.
Slant Magazine
Todd Robinson's film is a third-rate submarine-set drama until, in its final moments, it sinks to fourth-rate.

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