Captain Robinson (Jude Law) assembles a rag-tag group of his former employees to join him on a dangerous submarine mission to extract Nazi Gold “frum one of Hetla’s U-Boot’s just setten’ on der sea bid”. The danger not only lies with the submarine itself, which is as rickety and reliable as a hip replacement you’ll find from a dodgy back-alley surgery, but mostly from the eclectic ensemble of mentally unstable crew members. One can only imagine the sorts of trouble 13 precarious men confined together in a tight rusty space is going to throw up on the big screen… and of course, if you’re not careful (like me) eating way too many boiled eggs and jelly beans, then you’ll also be throwing up on the big screen trying to cope with all the suspense.
I was really impressed with the casting for this film. It’s great to see Scoot McNairy team up with Ben Mendelsohn again after their success in Killing Them Softly (2012). The partnership they have in Black Sea isn’t anywhere near as consecutive as it is in KTS but their individual performances are genuinely effective. The Russian actors in the film add to the claustrophobic anxiety very well portraying quiet mysterious characters, most notably Grigoriy Dobrygin whom you may notice from A Most Wanted Man (2014); also Konstantin Khabenskiy from Wanted (2008) plays his usual kooky Russian oddball turn impressively. The British actors are also highly commendable with notably gritty performances from Michael Smiley – A Field In England (2013) and David Threlfall – Shameless. And of course, there’s Jude Law. I’ve heard people say they can’t get past his ridiculous accent but I personally found it to be a rather convincing effort. I’ve heard a lot worse when it comes to actors attempting the British accent; here’s looking at you Charlie Hunnam in Green Street (it is exceptionally poor considering Hunnam is actually British.) If you do have trouble handling his Aberdonian accent then please try your hardest to see past it because I think he really excels in his role as a rugged Submarine captain. I like the fact the producers took a bit of a left-field punt with the lead role, they could easily have gone for an actor like Gerard Butler but I think seeing Jude Law as the unexpected main character gives the film it’s commercial pulling power.
Overall, the film is an extremely tense old-fashioned thriller which demands your attention from the very first to last minute. The narrative is engineered in a rather orthodox linear fashion but it’s focus and masterfully executed use of suspense will have you chomping through your finger nails like they’re chocolate flavoured. There isn’t anything groundbreaking here but if you’re after an entertaining Friday night, whether it’s going down to the pub with the lads afterwards to practice Law’s rough Scawttish accent or if you and the missus have had enough of the local Indian takeaway, then this might just be the gem for you.
4 Rusty Submarines out of 5
by Simon Garganera Price