Black Sea (2014)

(On Cable TV, April 2015) I have an inordinate fascination for underwater movies (the fact that there are not many of them helps), and this low-budget effort seemed different enough to be intriguing. Uncharacteristically not taking place in any military context, Black Sea is about commercial submarine operators, suddenly hired to go retrieve a sunken Nazi treasure. There are some corporate shenanigans, but they’re secondary to the tensions between the Russian and English crews aboard a quasi-disaffected Russian submarine. Still, for all of the promising hooks and the solid presence of Jude Law as the protagonist, Black Sea is surprisingly dull. It plods along with ugly cinematography, by-the-numbers scripting, a downbeat ending and a slack pace. It never quite manages to transform all of its assets into a compelling film, and feels much longer than it is by sheer lack of excitement. I wish that there would be more to write about Black Sea, but almost all of it boils down to “boring, boring, boring”. This being said, take note: This is exactly the kind of gritty, atmospheric, middle-of-the-road film that is highly susceptible to mood. Chances are good that you may like it more.

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