'Black Sea': The submarine movie is full of clichés

'Sea' stars Jude Law as a Scottish seafarer who brings together a team to look for lost treasure.

Courtesy of Alex Bailey/Focus Features
Jude Law stars as a rogue submarine captain after sunken treasure in the depths of the Black Sea in the adventure thriller 'Black Sea,' directed by Academy Award winner Kevin Macdonald.

In “Black Sea,” we are asked to believe in Jude Law as a grizzled Scottish seafarer, and the surprise is that he’s not bad. Neither is the movie, although there’s isn’t a whit of novelty in this submarine flick about mercenaries searching beneath the waves for a huge lost gold shipment. What they really are looking for, it seems, is a treasure-trove of cliches. They found it.

But I’m something of a sucker for submarine-movie clichés; watching this movie, I was happy the very first time I heard a disconcerting ping. The movie’s conceit, supposedly fact-based, is that in 1941 the Russians sent via U-boat a vast amount of gold to Nazi Germany just before the two powers went splitsville. The U-boat was apparently sunk. 

Law’s Robinson pulls together a team of scurvy sea dogs, a mix of Russians and English speakers, who almost immediately start fighting each other. A standout is Ben Mendelsohn’s Aussie nutcase, another in his burgeoning gallery of nutcases. Kevin Macdonald, better remembered for “The Last King of Scotland,” directed. Grade: B (Rated R for language throughout, some graphic images and violence.)

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