Black Sea Review


Director: Kevin Maconald
Starring: Jude Law, Scoot McNairy, Michael Smiley, Ben Mendelsohn

Jude Law returns to the big screen in Kevin Macdonald’s hunting Nazi gold in a decrepit submarine adventure picture, Black Sea. This is not a film about hunting treasure, it’s a film about 10 struggling submariners, stuck in a confined environment together.

After being let go by his former employers, ex-submarine captain, Robinson (Jude Law), embarks on a dangerous hunt for lost Nazi gold, which is rumoured to be in a German U-boat, in the depths of the Black Sea. Backed by a mysterious billionaire, he gathers a crew of 10 out of work submariners to help him find the treasure the Black Sea could has to offer.

There’s a constant sense of claustrophobia to Black Sea, with 10 desperate men stuck in a tight, leaky and dangerously rusty Soviet sub. The film’s at it’s best when it focuses on the men inside the submarine, trying to work together despite their cultural differences. Robinson’s men, who are half British and half Russian, are constantly at one another’s throats. It’s riveting to see sparks fly between the two contrasting cultures, especially when a huge amount of gold is on the cards.

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The feeling of claustrophobia is made more prominent by Kevin McDonald’s cleaver direction. His decision to keep most of the action inside the submarine makes every scene seem more oppressive. The lack of space adds a constant sense of threat and overbearing danger to the piece.

Black Sea is bolstered by a fine supporting cast, including the likes of Scoot McNairy, Michael Smiley, Konstantin Khabenskiy, Grigoriy Dobrygin and a particularly gut wrenching performance from Aussie actor Ben Mendelsohn – he really likes to stick the knife in.

If the film was to have a flaw, it’s Jude Law’s unconvincing Scottish accent, which is a head scratcher, especially since it wasn’t really needed. He could have spoken in his traditional English accent and it wouldn’t have been as distracting as his almost Scotty-esque Scottish approach to his vocal performance.

This is an issue because everything else works so well, including Jude Law’s overall performance, which is superb – minus the accent. Jude Law perfectly portrays a man at the end of his tether, having to deal with 10 unruly and desperate men, in a confined environment.

Black Sea is an interesting and effective piece. There much more amid this Dennis Kelly-scripted thriller, which is not just your average National Treasure type of fortune hunting picture. Kevin McDonald steers well away from the atrocities of Fool’s Gold and delivers a well rounded, and thought provoking film.

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