Black Sea

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Black Sea

If you want to get your audience on the edge of their seat, there are few more sure-fire ways to do it than the submarine movie. Unfortunately, while they’re sure-fire, they’re also all pretty much exactly the same once they dive under the surface. As a tale of a rag-tag bunch of salvagers, who charter a rusty Russian sub to retrieve a wreck full of Nazi gold at the bottom of the titular body of water, Black Sea ticks all the boxes; running silent to avoid detection, crew tensions in cramped quarters, diving too deep, people being sealed off to die in flooding compartments, trying to steer the sub through too-narrow channels and a captain (Jude Law) who pushes things too far, risking a mutiny from the crew.
Some class consciousness enlivens things a little: the captain is pushing things to the limit in part as revenge for being dumped by his former corporate bosses – they tried to salvage the wreck but failed, so these guys are stealing it from under their noses. The weaselly money man (Scoot McNairy) is a coward from the moment they submerge, while the working class crew (especially Ben Mendelsohn) are often greedy, racist and stabby, both back – and the literal kind. If you haven’t seen a sub movie in a while, this is a fun reminder of what you’re missing; if you remember the genre all too well, there’s nothing special about this trip under the sea.