Hi Outposters, and welcome back to Film Club. This week, Black Sea won and we’ve all been good little boys and watched it. Here are our reviews!
Jude Law drops Jason-Statham levels of machismo as he rounds up a motley crew of submariners to salvage Nazi gold from a lost U-boat. Things go wrong. A person has to work to screw up a premise that rocks steady. Unfortunately, those involved with Black Sea are up to the task. The movie has a good cast, incredible set design, and looks amazing, but it is hobbled by a flawed script. The movie gives the impression these men are losers on land but professionals at sea. Turns out they are losers on land and idiots at sea. No wonder they are all unemployed. When the chips are down and the pressure is on, professionals rise to the occasion. These men implode.
The most poorly-written character is the expert diver (Ben Mendelsohn). Real deep-sea divers are meticulous and possess self-control. The deep-sea diver in Black Sea goes from zero to stick-a-knife-in-a-guy’s-chest in no time flat. Then he becomes a voice of reason. Then he goes from zero to brain-a-guy-with-a-wrench in no time flat. His behavior makes no sense.
Another thing Black Sea suffers from is the lack of a clear antagonist, either from above or from within. The main antagonist in Black Sea is idiocy. At the end of the day, all of these characters deserved to drown due to their bad decisions.
This is exactly what I was looking forward to with Film Club. Watching movies I haven’t seen or in cases like this, movies I’ve never heard of.
Black Sea is a thrilling cinematic journey that plunges audiences into the depths of excitement and tension. Okay, no more puns, I promise.
The movie grabs your attention and doesn’t let go until the very last frame. That said, the storytelling was kind of off for me. I found the premise interesting enough, although Nazis had to be brought up and I’m sick of that. The events that set the plot in motion were hard for me to expand my disbelief, it was forced to say the least. The film’s setting, a claustrophobic and treacherous underwater environment is nerve-wracking, as you feel the pressure and tension of the characters’ desperate situation.
Usually, I find Jude Law overrated. Once in a while, he’s great, this is one of those exceptions. He delivers a compelling performance as the determined protagonist, Captain Robinson. Black Sea is a gripping tale of adventure, danger, and redemption. However, could’ve used more polish on the screenplay.
I was as pleased as punch that Black Sea won the Film Club poll. Not necessarily because it was a film I hadn’t seen (revisiting old classics are all part of the fun too), but because it starred Jude Law, Ben Mendelsohn, and Scoot McNairy who are always excellent. On the other hand, having a newfound fear of claustrophobia and the fact I’ve always been terrified at the thought of drowning, I went into this movie with a little tortoise head ready to pop out at any given moment.
For the most part, this was exactly what I was expecting. The movie capitalized on all my fears with horrible tight closed spaces, and the darkness of the bottom of the sea. Fucking horrible but gripping stuff. However, regardless of the performances by the aforementioned stars, there were moments in the movie that were quite frankly ridiculous and took me out of the moment.
Spoilers: Mendelsohn stabs the only interpreter between the British and the Russians. There’s no real reason behind it, he just does it because of a mild argument. Therefore the already fractious relationship between both teams is gone… but fine again 5 minutes later with a handshake.
Then one Russian and one Brit suddenly win £30k on the lottery and find out whilst they are under the sea because they’ve been using the radio they were told not to use. They have an argument about splitting the winnings which results in Jude Law losing his temper and smashing up the radio, which was the ONLY way they have of communicating to the outside world.
Finally, Mendelsohn’s character kills the only bloke who is capable of working the engines whilst they steer them through a treacherous part of the sea, and he does this so they have no choice but to resurface, which they don’t because surprise surprise, they crash without him and are ultimately fucked.
For every good part, there is a bad part so a 50/50 split seems right.
I had never heard of this movie until Film Club, so it was nice to watch something completely new for me and see it was mostly British-made. I’m not nationalistic, but there is a good pool of British talent out there, especially writers and directors. This is also my kind of movie, having a small cast trapped in a small space, with the movie relying mostly on the acting and characters.
I liked how the characters are introduced and then the tension starts to build in the second and third acts. All of the cast are great, although I don’t know why Jude Law had to do a Scottish accent. He was excellent as the captain of the boat, trying to hold everything together, while the rest of the crew literally want to kill each other.
It was a tense and gripping movie, but I don’t see myself watching it again, but I’m glad I had the chance to see it.
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