'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.

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    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.
    Courtesy of Alex Bailey/Focus Features
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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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