As a child, I was fascinated with submarines and movies associated with these behemoth underwater creatures forged by steel. Movies such as The Hunt for The Red October, U571, Crimson Tide, and Das Boot, are the top ones that come into mind. After viewing the trailer for Black Sea, I was immediately fascinated. Submarine movies are sad rarity nowadays and I simply cannot understand why. There isn’t a better setting than being submerged hundreds of feet underwater in a ship, giving a display of human psyche at its peak of anxiety and an endless feeling of claustrophobia. Kevin Macdonald’s Black Sea does not disappoint.
We find our protagonist, Robinson (Jude Law), out of luck with a job as a submarine captain. Jobless, and desperate for money, while conversing with his old shipmates, one of them mentions a long forgotten stash of gold that even the company responsible for it cannot obtain. When I mean gold, I mean tons of old Nazi gold buried in the bottom of the black sea in a sunken submarine.
The plan to dive into the deep dark waters of the Black Sea is quickly done due to the desperation of Robinson and his fellow crewmates, who are half British and half Russian, constantly at each others throats. The deeper the get to the prize, trouble begins to stir with the crew, realizing that their share, equal at start, can multiply if there are less of them at the end.
Macdonald does an excellent job creating thrills throughout the movie. He is great at building anxiety and claustrophobia using the ship as a excellent backdrop. Although he could have gone deeper into Robinson’s character, we do get flashbacks of his family providing us some insight into the man’s personal life. All the thrills and buildup are left inside the ship.
Jude Law was solid as always, even with a shoddy Aberdeen accent. Age has worked in his favor for his presence is no longer boyish, but stern and manlier, channeling the presence of actors of a bygone era. Alongside Law, the movie works with a great supporting cast, graced by the finest character actors of the past few years, Ben Mendelsohn and Scoot McNairy. These two are excellent at chewing scenery, especially when they play slimy, morally bankrupt characters, like they do in Black Sea.
Overall, this movie is a throwback to a genre, which is almost extinct. Black Sea carries loads of thrills, and great direction by Macdonald, which gets heightened by a great lead performance and excellent support acting.