Film Review: Black Sea (2014)

Black Sea stars Jude Law in a heist-thriller set on a submarine. Law plays Robinson, a recently laid-off salvage worker who assembles a team of tough but capable Brits and Russians to stealthily plunder a sunken U-boat filled with Nazi gold in Russian military-inhabited waters. Unfortunately, the greedier and more violent members of the crew start butting heads almost immediately, making the hazardous journey into the Black Sea even more dangerous as distrust grows between the English-speaking and the Russian-speaking men. Konstantin Khabenskiy, David Threlfall, Michael Smiley, and a handful of other actors round out the crew upon the claustrophobic vessel.

There are no real heroes in Black Sea. Robinson proves himself to be an adequate leader but he does make some serious mistakes and bad judgement calls throughout the mission. Jude Law never does anything cliché while acting as the troubled captain, keeping his movements and facial gestures interesting while hiding his inherent charm. However, he doesn’t quite grasp Robinson’s Scottish accent, slipping occasionally into his own London accent or a strangely Eastern European one. The most dangerous character, Fraser (Ben Mendelsson), switches from capable and professional to petty and murderous from scene to scene, but not in a purposeful way, which points to either bad characterization or bad acting (I’d say the former). The reluctant “banker” Daniels (Scoot McNairy) and the youngest crewmember Tobin (Bobby Schofield) were probably meant to garner some sympathy in the audience but fail to do so.

The film occasionally gets distracted by trying to push a sad backstory for Robinson (his wife left him and took his young son because he was away so much for work), which doesn’t really add any interest and ends up slowing down the film’s pace after a great many number of flashbacks. Plot wise, however, Black Sea is a satisfying thriller with plenty of action and danger, and twists.

Rating: 3 out of 5 diving suits

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