BLACK SEA

7.5 out of 10

Release Date: 3rd December 2014

Director: Kevin MacDonald (How I Live Now / State of Play / The Eagle / The Last King of Scotland / Touching The Void / One Day In September)

Cast: Jude Law, Scoot McNairy, Ben Mendlesohn, Bobby Schofield, Michael Smiley, Grigory Dobrygin, David Threlfall, Sergey Puskapalis, Sergey Veksler, Sergey Kolesnikov, Daniel Ryan, Tobias Menzies, Karl Davies with Jodie Whitaker and Konstantin Khabneskiy

Writer: Dennis Kelly

Trailer: BLACK SEA

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Who fancies a taut-old school thriller then? The type of film your Dad would stretch out on the couch and enjoy with a can of ale on a Sunday afternoon. Well Black Sea fits that criteria rather snugly and it’s supremely entertaining in a very uncomplicated manner. Jude Law’s silly attempt at an Aberdeen accent aside, everything in Black Sea rings true and does its job. Black Sea was the perfect boys-own adventure for us at Britpic.

Jude Law’s (HUGO) Robinson is an out of work Submarine captain. Told of a way to earn a giant haul by salvaging an unclaimed haul of gold from a sunken German WW2 U-boat – he assembles a rag-tag group of British and Russian (and an Australian) submariners to go and get it.  Promising his crew an equal share in the booty causes unpredicted tensions between the Brits, Russians and solo Aussie. Things turn deadly when it becomes apparent that the fewer crew members left living breathing there are the larger the individual share. But how many people are needed to pilot a submarine back to the surface? And who will get to keep the gold?

Much like classsics Wages of Fear and The Treasure of Sierra Madre the stakes are high and the atmosphere tense. The plot is basic but it still contains som eunlikely twists and turns. Near the beginning when the fourteen or so submariners are introduced I was wondering how I’d differentiate all the characters from one another, but quite uniquely it was possible. Each role and character were easily identifiable. A few down the pecking order get short shrift but they get despatched early on. This was a nice surprise considering the temptation for the makers to have simply scooped the Russian characters to one side and forget about them. But they were suitablly developed before and during the shit hitting the underwter propellors. This is not The Abyss.  Unlike other submarine-set films this takes its inspirations from well-known sci-fi movies like Alien or Danny Boyle’s Sunshine.

Great supporting turns keep this going – Ben Mendlesohn (THE YEAR MY VOICE BROKE) has the plum role as the psychotic Fraser – who happens to be fairly benevolent when the current flowed his way. Michael Smiley (LUTHER), David Threlfall (PATRIOT GAMES) and Konstantin Khabneskiy (NIGHTWATCH) all put in good work down the ranks – also worth a mention is Scoot McNairy (12 YEARS A SLAVE) as the creepy company man. The special effects (underwater model work, mostly) are visually impressive and only serve to increase the in-submarine tension by heightening the oppressive remoteness of the bottom of the Black Sea.

7.5 out of 10 – Black Sea is perhaps the best and most entertaining British thriller of 2014. There needs to be a few more films in this category and of this budget coming out ot the UK… I can’t wait to see it over again. Recommended for thriller lovers everywhere.

WHAT HAVE IS SEEN THAT ACTOR IN BEFORE?

  • Jude Law: Sherlock Holmes 3, Spy (2015), The Grand Budapest Hotel, Dom Hemingway, Side Effects, Rise Of The Guardians (voice), 360, Anna Karenina (2012), Hugo, Contagion, Sherlock Holmes 2 (2011), The Imaginarium of Dr Parnassus, Sherlock Holmes (2009), Repo Men, My Blueberry Nights, Sleuth, The Holiday(2006), Breaking & Entering, Aviator, Lemony Snicket’s A Series Of Unfortunate Events (voice), Closer, Alfie, Sky Captain and The World Of Tomorrow, I Heart Huckabees, Cold Mountain, The Road To Perdition, Enemy At The Gates, Love Honour and Obey, A.I., The Talented Mr Ripley, Existenz, Wisdom Of Crocodiles, Final Cut, Midnight In The Garden Of Good and Evil, Gattaca, Wilde, Shopping
  • Scoot McNairy: Crisis Is Our Brand, Gone Girl, The Rover, Frank, Non-Stop, 12 Years a Slave, Promised Land, Argo, Killing Them Softly, A Night In The WoodsMonsters, In Search Of a Midnight Kiss,Mr Fix-It, Herbie – Fully Loaded
  • Ben Mendlesohn: Slow West, Lost River, Exodus, Starred Up, The Place Beyond The Pines, The Dark Knight Returns, Killing Them Softly, Trespass (2011), The Killer Elite, Animal Kingdom, Needle, Beautiful Kate, Knowing, Australia, The New World, Vertical Limit, Sample People, Idiot Box, Cosi, Sirens, Map of the Human Heart, Quigley Down Under, The Big Steal, Nirvana Street Murder, Spotswood, The Year My Voice Broke, Neighbours (TV)
  • Bobby Schofield: The Last Ferry
  • Michael Smiley: Free Fire, The Devil Went Down To Islington, Luther (TV), The Lobster, Glassland, We Are The Freaks, SvengaliFor Those In PerilThe World’s EndA Field In England, The ABCs of Death, Shell, Luther (TV), Kill ListBurke & HareDown TerraceOutpost,  Big Fat Gypsy Gangster
  • Grigory Dobrygin: A Most Wanted Man
  • David Threlfall: Shameless (TV), Nowhere Boy, Like Minds, Elizabeth I – The Golden Age, Hot Fuzz, Master and Commander– The Far Side Of The World,  Alien Autopsy, Patriot Games
  • Daniel Ryan: Skins (TV), Up On The Roof
  • Tobias Menzies: Forget Me Not, Game of Thrones (TV), Rome (TV), The Low Down, Casualty (TV)
  • Karl Davies: The Quiet Hour, Castles In The Sky, Game of Thrones (TV), Octane, Emmerdale (TV), Peak Practice (TV)
  • Jodie Whitaker: How To Live Yours, Broadchurch (TV), Get Santa, Hello Carter, Ashes, Spike IslandGood Vibrations, Attack The Block, One Day, The Kid (2010), St. Trinians, Venus
  • Konstantin Khabneskiy: Wanted, Daywatch, Nightwatch
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