Black Sea

****1/2

Reviewed by: Angus Wolfe Murray

Black Sea
"Retains a tight grip on your imagination"

Ever since Das Boot subs have been a popular venue for the fear factor. It's not just claustrophobia, which is bad enough, it's the human element as well.

Robinson (Jude Law) is sacked from his job as a diver with a salvage company after 15 years service. He is given no reason, only a miserable redundancy package, and joins the ranks of the unemployed at an age when his experience and fitness is peak perfect.

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He knows that there is a sunken U-boat under the Black Sea full of Nazi gold. An associate from the banking fraternity arranges a meeting with a billionaire investor who agrees to finance the project for 40% of the profit.

Robinson has to find a Russ/Brit crew as well as a submarine that works and won't leak without the Russians hearing about it.

The film dives into icy depths. Everything is on hold, especially hope. The language barrier is the least of their worries. It's like lockdown at the asylum.

Robinson announces that everyone will receive an equal share of the spoils, which proves controversial to say the least. What about that teenager who has never been to sea before? They call him The Virgin which spooks the Russians who believe that having a kid like this on board brings bad luck.

And then there's the psychopath, an exceptional diver, yet dangerous to the touch. The investor's rep, another landlubber, poses the question that if everyone is getting the same money why not bump off a few to bring the numbers down, boosting the percentage share for those left standing.

Law is ordered. His accent may be off but his performance is not. It's the best thing he has done since... ever.

This is a film that retains a tight grip on your imagination. Nothing is entirely what you expect. The actors rise to the occasion, and then rise again. They are together under tons of water like being trapped by a mud slide on the edge of a precipice with another storm coming.

Reviewed on: 04 Dec 2014
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A skeleton crew in a decommissioned submarine launch a clandestine search for Nazi gold under Russian waters.
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