Kevin Macdonald, director of The Last King of Scotland and State of Play, takes us to the very bottom of the ocean for a solid, well-executed submarine thriller being steered by a commanding performance by Jude Law. The most appealing and entertaining thing about Black Sea is it’s not just about this crew of guys stuck in a submarine. It’s not just about finding a treasure to hit it rich. It’s not just about the influence of greed, and how it can consume any man and turn him into something he never thought he could be.
Guess what? Black Sea is all of the above.
Captain Robinson (Law) has been on submarines for three decades and has spent the last eleven years slaving away for an ocean salvage company. And while he is the most knowledgeable man there, they fire him. He’s not the only one either. A group of his mates are desperate and submarines are all they know. This is where Daniels (Scoot McNairy) comes in to assist. He is a cheap suit with plans of his own who gets the expedition in to the water. An expedition on to the floor of the Black Sea where a Nazi U-boat sits full of gold worth millions. A lot of millions. With a crew of Brits, Russians and one unpredictable nut-so Aussie diver (Ben Mendelsohn), this journey will be challenging but could change their lives forever. A victory for the common working man. That’s only if these submerged savages do not lose their heads first.
For a deep sea story, it does lack depth and shares some familiarity with other movies like U-571, which is unavoidable. The key is Macdonald keeps changing the stakes and, in the process, adjusting the direction of the story and the mentality of the characters. I don’t care what you say, that’s exciting stuff. Black Sea uses it’s strength of performances combined with focused direction and the undeniable claustrophobia that surrounds the entire movie to elevate the tension successfully.