Overall Grade: (B)
A tense thriller with many harrowing moments and a very capable Jude Law pulling off a great leading performance.
After losing his job a submarine captain has no choice but to take a shady deal of embarking to the bottom of the Black Sea in search of a rumored sunken German submarine loaded with gold.
This film turned out to be a highly compelling thriller with many riveting moments. The story-line was simple, and plausible enough and did not waste time getting started. Jude Law was excellent in this one and truly delivered a strong performance. You can connect to his situation early on in the first-act as he loses his job and thus has little option but to agree to the task of searching for a treasure essentially. He conveys the desperation and determination to make you root for his success and stay compelled to what will happen.
Other than him the cast was relatively unknown to me and while some performances may have been larger then others, all of them fit their roles and made the crew of the ship feel as unstable as the filmmakers intended. The tension among the crew created a great side-story to the main plot and without using much time to focus on it the uneasiness among the members of the crew was clear and tense, not to mention the addition of the submarine confines to add to the intensity. With good writing all of those things were served in subtle (and some not so subtle) reminders throughout to keep the tension peaked.
I really enjoyed the story-line to this film and the pacing it used to tell itself. There was a nice flow and with solid cast performances the most was made of the dialogue to convey the situations which elevated the suspense of the harrowing moments. The fact they were a crew that didn’t like one another, diving to the bottom of the Black Sea with a submarine that had seen its better days, and Law’s character struggling to keep peace among the crew, all created a story that keeps your interest. There was also a good deal of unpredictability that only made the enjoyment higher.
Once the third-act gets going the build-up is delivered with a highly intense and absolutely riveting climax that keeps you enthralled throughout. There are a nice collection of nail-biting moments and with great camerawork the truly confined feeling of a submarine is captured. The twist in this film was – just when you thought things couldn’t be worse, they got worse – and it resulted in a very entertaining adventure thriller.
Overall “Black Sea” was a pleasant surprise and a strong showing for the genre. Law will probably not get the recognition he deserves for his performance but regardless he pulled off the role of captain in great from. It wasn’t the level of a “U-571” but it was a close runner up. The film took itself seriously and never tried to over do it and f you are looking for a thrilling adventure that will keep your interest, then film is for you.