Matthew McConaughey, Bill Paxton, Harvey Keitel, Jon Bon Jovi, David
Keith, Thomas Kretschmann, Jake Weber, Jack Noseworthy, Tom Guiry, Will
Estes, Terrence "T.C." Carson, Erik Palladino and Dave Power.
Screenplay by Jonathan Mostow, Sam Montgomery and
Directed by Jonathan
Distributed by Universal Pictures. 116 minutes. Rated
I’m not sure why this movie was made in the year 2000. Not that
it’s a horrible movie. It isn’t. But it is such an anachronism
that it is hard to understand how it got green-lighted.
This is the story of a group of World War II
American cadets who are stuck on a damaged German submarine that
they had captured after their own vessel is torpedoed. Matthew
McConaughey is very good if overly solemn in the starring role of
the American captain (he literally does not smile once in this film,
not even during the early R&R scenes). The rest of the crew is made
up of a bunch of generic stoic but oh-so-handsome cadets, including
rock star Jon Bon Jovi (nearly unrecognizable here) and one
not-so-handsome chief (Harvey Keitel.)
They try to spice things up with a bunch of
Bruckheimer/Simpson type loud explosions, but that just points out
further that a submarine is just a big, slow, uninteresting
machine. It is hard to even get a rooting interest, because the
filmmakers assume that we know that Nazis are evil, but the crew is
so cut off from the rest of the world that we have no way of seeing
this. They show a few things that they do which are bad but acts of
war, but the evilness of Germany is never given any context in the
Little plot points make no sense, either. Why,
for example, would the Nazis be so relentless in tracking their own
submarine when the Allied Forces let it slip away with only cursory
damage after it torpedoed an ocean liner?
is of interest to war buffs only, and even they could see a better
film just by renting Das Bööt. Otherwise, it seems like a
quaint little time capsule that has little connection to the modern
Jay S. Jacobs
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