01/14/15 12:06pm
01/14/2015 12:06 PM |

Photo courtesy of Focus Features


Black Sea
Directed by Kevin McDonald
Opens January 23


Kevin McDonald’s disjointed submarine thriller Black Sea focuses on the efforts of a ragtag band of Brits and Russians, led by Captain Robinson (Jude Law), who riskily trawl the eponymous expanse in search of hidden Nazi gold. It’s a hodgepodge of styles and influences which, though intermittently fun, fails to cohere into a satisfying whole. There are hints of The Treasure of The Sierra Madre’s epic sweep, Alien’s claustrophobia, and Southern Comfort’s macho angst, but McDonald’s pacing is way off; tempers flare before any tension has been allowed to simmer, while characters consistently behave in forehead-smackingly implausible ways (like Robinson smashing up the sub’s radio—their only form of contact with the outside world). There are early hints of social realism, with Dennis Kelly’s script broaching the very real issue of declining industry and mass unemployment. But this element is handled perfunctorily, and swiftly subsumed by sentimentality.