|Pensive captain: Jude Law|
Robinson (Jude Law) is one of a number of disgruntled men who have been fired by the Agora Salvage corporation. He and his cronies join up with several Russian sailors and use a battered old submarine to sail to the Back Sea, where there is a sunken u-boat full of Nazi gold. Things start going wrong almost immediately with tension and disagreements among the rough crew, and major problems with the old sub's equipment, until it becomes a struggle just to stay alive let alone get their hands on the gold. And Agora isn't quite through with them, either. Black Sea is an extremely well-done thriller with an excellent screenplay and direction, interesting characters, a fine ensemble acting job, and a lot of tension and suspense throughout. The film makes you feel for the individuals on board, rooting for some to survive while disliking others. Law [Side Effects] gives a strong, commanding performance, and while the supporting cast is uniformly terrific, there's especially notable work from Bobby Schofield as the youngest crew member Tobin; Ben Mendelsohn as the semi-psychotic Fraser; David Threlfall as asthmatic Peters; and Scoot McNairy as the duplicitous Daniels. The picture is quite exciting and has a very moving conclusion. One might quibble about the unexpected actions of certain crew members, but it could also be chalked up to the unpredictability of human nature under pressure -- lots of pressure!
Verdict: Absorbing, highly intense and very literate thriller. ***1/2.