If you have seen one submarine movie you have seen them all. I know that is a narrow-minded thing to say, but when you get down to it, U-571, Down Periscope, and Hunt for Red October are all the same movie. They are about people in an airtight metal tube, doing stuff under the sea. It does not matter if it is a war film; the set-up is still the same. With that in mind, does Black Sea do anything different or more of the same?
The story follows Robinson, played by Jude Law, a washed-up Scottish sailor, after he is laid off from his job. While trying to find employment, he hears from a friend about a lost U-Boat in the Black Sea that contains millions of dollars worth of Nazi gold. He puts together a team of British and Russian sailors and takes them into the depths.
The set-up is very been there, done that. A dysfunctional crew, with varying degrees of character, must work together to accomplish a common goal. Black Sea makes up for the monotony with an emphasis on building tension. It uses both character conflict and a sense that the submarine will fall apart at any moment.
With submarine movies, the characters start out hating each other, but learn to work together. In Black Sea, the characters hate each other, and keep hating each other. As the story progresses, they go crazy over the gold, and the risks they are taking. The British side becomes especially unhinged, fearing the Russians will take a larger share.
Performances were great all around. The cast was large, comprised mostly of unknowns, and everyone brought something to the table no matter how short a time they had on screen. Law was the definite stand out as the lead. He embodied a man who was fed-up with poverty and seeing other people gain success with little to no effort.
As far as complaints go, the film is too okay to have much wrong with it. It is very simple, straightforward, and well done. If you do not like a slow pace, even though it works for this movie, then I guess you will find fault.
I expected this review to be a bit longer. From what I have found after reviewing 22 films, if a movie is good, I find less to talk about. If a movie is bad, then I write at length about what makes it bad. Black Sea is good and if you like submarine movies, you will like it.