Lively, entertaining reviews of, and essays on, old and newer films and everything relating to them, written by professional author William Schoell.

Thursday, September 22, 2016


Pensive captain: Jude Law
BLACK SEA (2014). Director: Kevin Macdonald. Screenplay by Dennis Kelly.

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.


angelman66 said...

I'm glad you liked this one, Bill, I am now very much looking forward to seeing it--love a good treasure hunt thriller. Just recently saw Law again in Side Effects and he's still got all the star power and acting talent--he's always very watchable. My favorite film of his, of course, is Talented Mr. Ripley!

William said...

Yeah, he was great in that. He's middle-aged now, but still looks good and has great presence and charisma.

I watched this because it has an excellent trailer, and the movie lived up to it. Worth watching, especially if your a Law fan.