Based upon the novel "The Good Shepherd" by C S Forester, this is the thrilling story of an Allied convoy crossing the North Atlantic in 1942 as it faces relentless attack by a German submarine wolf pack. The leader of the convoy's destroyer screen is a US Navy commander making his first Atlantic crossing. The story focuses on the his command responsibility as he fights the cold, the relentless night, the brutal sea, and his deep fatigue as he chases down the attacking submarines in the deadly game of cat and mouse. The exciting story, a thrilling ride-along with the beleaguered captain, so deeply portrays the elements of battle command that for a long period of time the book was used as a text at the US Naval Academy.Written by
Some of the filming of this movie was done aboard Her Majesty's Canadian Ship (HMCS) "Montreal" in the North Atlantic in January 2018 with a film crew of 9 and 10 cameras. See more »
In the book, the central ship the USS Keeling (call sign Greyhound), was of the Mahan class. In the movie, however, the titular ship is portrayed as being of the Fletcher class. This may have been chosen because much of the filming was done on the USS Kidd, a Fletcher-class museum ship still maintained in its WW2-configuration, because the silhouette of the heavily-engaged Fletcher class is iconic to most fans of WW2 naval history, or because there were almost ten times as many Fletchers built as Mahans. But while the Mahans were all in service before World War II, the first Fletcher class vessels was not introduced into service until the middle of 1942, which is after the February 1942 date in which the movie is set. (similarly, the HMS James/Harry looks like it was modeled on a British Battle-class destroyer, which did not enter service until 1944). See more »
This is a movie about the procedure of command. This is an innately more complex task than the more common episodic approach that buries the procedural reality under a mask of plot and character. But this film pulls it off, largely by not shying away from the task.
Guess what? Naval warfare, especially the sort of highly asymmetric warfare shown here, doesn't really revolve around the captain demanding more speed while the engineer says she canna take it. If you're looking for a movie that's truly respectful of the labours and sacrifices made in the Battle of the Atlantic, then this is a fitting tribute.
Don't expect a character movie, don't expect to spend time below decks exploring the usual stereotypes. This movie is seen through the eyes of the captain, and the captain alone. I can think of very few other films that dare to depict the loneliness of command quite so clearly. There's little time for thought, there's no time to process or even truly grasp the horrors that they encounter (something which forms one of the roots of PTSD). What there is is the fight.
The fight is relentless and deeply technical. We've become used to fight scenes carrying a few bits of technical gibberish followed by some visceral and personalised action. There's no gibberish in this film, and the latter consists of the captain cutting his feet on broken glass. The movie, like the mind of the captain, is consumed with the intricate technical and personal demands required to hunt down a submarine at that time. That was clearly the aim here, and the movie has succeeded admirably at showing that particular aspect of this type of warfare. This is not a common way to stage a war movie, but it's worth doing well on a few occasions, and this movie achieves its goal.
The reviews show that many come looking for something more conventional, and end up missing the point, which is a shame.
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