Black Sea came & went without making much of a splash (did you see what I did there?), which is too bad because it’s actually a darn good thriller. Jude Law is really good in the lead; he’s a submarine captain that’s been let go from the job he’s worked his whole life – yes, it’s another movie effectively about the economic downturn. But then he gets an under the radar job offer; captain a sub heading into the Black Sea on a mission to steal the gold out of a sunken Nazi sub. A motley crew, including such stalwart character actors as Scoot McNairy, Ben Mendelsohn & Grigoriy Dobrygon fill out the large ensemble. Though it’s a shame to see Jodie Whittaker, so great in Broadchurch, brought into the ensemble cast and then be shuffled off screen with something less than two minutes of screen time. But anyway, into the Black Sea and from there, things go as you’d expect. The cast is solid, even if a lot of the parts are clichéd and some of the roles, like Ben Mendelsohn’s Fraser, never seem to quite live up to their potential. But Law is really good, particularly the farther the film goes as he becomes more and more obsessed with getting the gold or maybe just with screwing over the system that’s screwed him over for so long. He has a late rant about “the bankers” and the way they’ve wrecked his life that’s very compelling and his best acting in a few years, I’d say. The ending is a bit silly and predictable, but, on the whole, I really enjoyed this movie. It was certainly thrilling, entertaining and suspenseful while I watched it and if the film doesn’t perhaps have much of an artistic vision beyond claustrophobia and darkness, that’s kind of enough. The movie isn’t serious enough to really make itself “about” the economic downturn and the economic inequities of modern life, but it sprinkles those themes in lightly, but just enough to add a bit of heft. This doesn’t really transcend its genre trappings, but it certainly executes them very, very well. Recommended. 3 ½ stars.
tl;dr – Jude Law is intense and wonderful as a sub captain leading a great ensemble cast on an illegal mission; a claustrophobic, entertaining and exciting thriller. 3 1/2 stars.