The title of the film – Black Sea – is both descriptive and geographic.
Jude Law plays Robinson, a submarine captain put out to graze by his salvage company who finds an audacious way to get back at his old bosses and make some money at the same time. The “MacGuffin” in this movie is a wartime German U-Boat that disappeared without trace in 1941 along with a fortune in Russian gold. Robinson pulls around him a team of divers and submariners – some less mentally stable than others – together with a reluctant banker (evil, naturally) and they set off from Sevastopol in an old hulk of a sub in search of the loot.
They find the treasure, split the loot and all live happily ever after. Well, no, obviously not. This claustrophobic drama pits man against man as ethnic tensions and greed collide in the pursuit of the spoils.
The movie starts with the feel of a low budget UK film. Surprising given Kevin Macdonald of “Last King of Scotland” fame directs. However my lowered expectations were then progressively raised by an interesting albeit belief-suspending story, some decent acting and a modicum of suspense. Jude Law gives one of his better performances of recent years and also noteworthy is the youngster on board – Tobin played by Bobby Schofield – who you end up really caring about far more than most of the rest of the cast.
Followers of the Fad may recall my comments about the unsuitability of this year’s “Under the Skin” to US audiences due to the impenetrable Glaswegian accents: here Jude Law gives non-British ears a similarly challenging Scottish accent, ably supported by tricky Liverpudlian and Russian dialects! This is not helped by a less than crisp vocal audio track, often drowned out by the music and foley work. #subtitles=on.
Bits of just about every submarine and underwater movie ever made – including Das Boot, K19: The Widowmaker, The Hunt for Red October, Run Silent Run Deep and The Enemy Below – are put into the movie blender, mixed with a dash of The Abyss and spiced with a soupçon of the finale of Caine’s Italian Job. As such this has the feel of a film you have seen before, and its release timing – a thriller in the first week of December – suggests a studio view of this being cannon fodder: not good enough for the summer blockbuster season and not Oscar worthy either.
It is also not exactly a chick-flick with – from memory – only one female line (Jodie Whittaker, in flashback) throughout the whole film.
All that being said, on the plus side the moderately feel-good ending is quite innovative and surprising: I didn’t see it coming.
Fad Rating: FFF.