U-571

"Good"

U-571 Review


It's finally time to reassess the submarine movie to see if it's outlived its useful life. I was skeptical enough when Crimson Tide came out in 1995, feeling like a knockoff of The Hunt for Red October, itself an homage to Das Boot, it something of an homage to Run Silent, Run Deep. They even made Down Periscope, which four years of therapy have not helped me to forget.

U-571 takes the Das Boot path, starring a dozen of the sweatiest men in Hollywood (the makeup department working overtime on this one), all led by everyone's favorite naked bongo player, Matthew Mcconaughey. Loosely based on real events, U-571 involves a WWII mission to capture a German Enigma encryption device from a sinking German submarine adrift in the middle of the Atlantic. Skipper Bill Paxton and his 2nd in charge McConaughey hop to the task, dressing up their wreck of a sub to look just like a German U-boat. One guy on the crew speaks German, so there shouldn't be a problem in posing as a rescue ship, right?

The recovery goes as planned but, uh-oh, the Germans catch them in the act and sink the American sub. McConaughey, with his commander dead, decides to lead the surviving skeleton crew to take over the badly damaged U-boat and try to escape the big bad Nazis on their tail.

Just describing the plot gets me juiced about the action in U-571. There are plenty of real thrills and enough Navy jargon to make any war-happy moviegoer perk up in his seat. Truly, U-571 is a fun movie, much like Crimson Tide. But... there is a catch.

The problem is that U-571 is so overwhelmingly contrived that suspension of disbelief is nearly impossible. It's bad enough when we see the Nazis shoot up a rowboat full of survivors because of "orders from Der Fuhrer," just so we know it's okay to kill the Germans later in the film. But what of the later hushed conversation, when a grim-faced officer proclaims that there must be no survivors if a dangerous plan goes awry, because the Germans will torture them all without mercy? Anything to get the audience on your side, huh?

There's the usual "take the boat below the most remotely imaginable depth" scene. There's a prisoner to contend with. There's all that "down bubble" talk. There are implorations to be silent. The usual sub clichés are all here, except they never "bottom 'er out on the ocean floor."

But the icing on the cake is when McConaughey and his crew are on the run from the enormous destroyer, dropping dozens of depth charges, shooting torpedoes, firing cannons... and nothing seems to hurt this ship! U-571 is apparently some kind of German superboat! It's amazing it was damaged in the first place! Pretty soon, you'll probably grow tired of watching explosion after explosion do absolutely nothing to the sub, and then the thrills of U-571 will quickly fade.

Sorry Hollywood, it's time to put the sub movie in dry dock. At least until the next World War.

Dive dive dive!



U-571

Facts and Figures

Run time: 116 mins

In Theaters: Friday 21st April 2000

Box Office Worldwide: $127.7M

Budget: $62M

Distributed by: Universal Studios Home Video

Production compaines: Canal Plus, Universal Pictures, Dino De Laurentiis Company

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 3 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 68%
Fresh: 78 Rotten: 37

IMDB: 6.6 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director:

Starring: as Lt. Andrew Tyler, as Lt. Cmdr. Mike Dahlgren, as CPO Henry Klough, as Lt. Pete Emmett, as Maj. Matthew Coonen, as Capt. Lt. Gunther Wassner, as Lt. Hirsch, as Bill Wentz, as Ted Trigger Fitzgerald, as Ronald Rabbit Parker, Terrence 'T.C.' Carson as Steward Eddie Carson

Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

New Movies

Manchester by the Sea Movie Review

Manchester by the Sea Movie Review

This may not be the cheeriest movie of the season, but it's so skilfully written,...

Live By Night Movie Review

Live By Night Movie Review

Ben Affleck launched his directing career 10 years ago with his film of Dennis Lehane's...

La La Land Movie Review

La La Land Movie Review

After storming awards season with Whiplash two years ago, writer-director Damien Chazelle returns with something...

Assassin's Creed Movie Review

Assassin's Creed Movie Review

Hopes were high that this film might finally crack the curse of movies based on...

Silence Movie Review

Silence Movie Review

Faith is a topic Martin Scorsese can't quite shake, courting controversy with complex films like...

A Monster Calls Movie Review

A Monster Calls Movie Review

A difficult movie to market, this isn't actually the BFG-style fantasy adventure it looks like....

Monster Trucks Movie Review

Monster Trucks Movie Review

Word has it that a 4-year-old came up with the idea for this unapologetically silly...

Advertisement
Collateral Beauty Movie Review

Collateral Beauty Movie Review

Dramas exploring the nature of death and the true meaning of life are always in...

Paterson Movie Review

Paterson Movie Review

Unpredictable filmmaker Jim Jarmusch ricochets from his artful vampire movie Only Lovers Left Alive into...

I, Daniel Blake Movie Review

I, Daniel Blake Movie Review

At 80 years old, British filmmaker Ken Loach won his second Cannes Film Festival with...

Why Him? Movie Review

Why Him? Movie Review

Writer-director John Hamburg continues to recycle the formula that made his first hit Meet the...

Passengers Movie Review

Passengers Movie Review

Anchored by the almost ridiculously engaging Chris Pratt and Jennifer Lawrence, this sci-fi movie travels...

Neruda Movie Review

Neruda Movie Review

Clever Chilean director Pablo Larrain (who also directed Natalie Portman's Jackie) takes on the Nobel-winning...

The Eagle Huntress Movie Review

The Eagle Huntress Movie Review

Narrated by Daisy Ridley (The Force Awakens), this documentary is one of the most gripping...

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.