Review Date: October 12, 1999
Director: Tony Scott
Writer: Michael Schiffer
Producers: Don Simpson, Jerry Bruckheimer
An American submarine is set out to sea after instability in Russia leads to the possible threat of a nuclear attack. Nuclear devices aboard, the crew is suddenly poised to launch the missiles after an emergency message advises of an imminent Russian strike. Unfortunately, the last message received is cut off halfway, so the crew is suddenly unsure of their mission. The Captain of the ship believes that they should launch the missiles, while the XO thinks they should wait for confirmation. Tensions rise and mutiny abounds.
Thrilling, entertaining, claustrophobic, interesting, tense, are only a few of the words that I can use to describe this successful submarine thriller solidly anchored by the superior performances from two of today's top actors in the prime of their form, Denzel Washington and Gene Hackman. Despite an overload of technical terms, this film still managed to capture my attention and interest with a plausible situation, credible actors (Mortensen rocks!), an environment about which I knew very little and spitlets of comic relief. The buildup of the film was also managed quite dramatically with a burgeoning tension as it moved along at a rapid pace. Who would have thought that a film set almost entirely in a submarine could capture my attention to the point that it did? Credit goes to director Tony Scott for this accomplishment and the effectiveness of the story. This film is not about action either, it's basically about being in a situation where two people may be right, but a decision has to be made, and the fate of a billion people may lie in its wake. Pretty tense, no?
All in all, this film is an excellent nacho-plate movie, waiting to be enjoyed by groups of people who enjoy high-energy, macho thrillers brimming in mood, excellent actors and a unique environment.
(c) 2017 Berge Garabedian