A former Royal Navy submarine captain (Jude Law) abruptly cashiered from his job at a marine salvage company soon learns of a unique employment opportunity. Apparently, a Nazi sub full of gold bullion has been quietly located on the seabed off Crimea in the title body of water, and he is tasked with assembling a British/Russian crew to man a decrepit old sub to retrieve it from under the nose of the Russian Navy. But once underway, nationalistic mistrust predictably surfaces, and, combined with gold lust and some unstable characters, you know some bad things are going to happen.
A mid-movie twist identifies the real villain, and it’s a mind-blower. This well-written film by director Kevin Macdonald (The Last King of Scotland, and the documentary Touching the Void) is nail-bitingly tense from start to finish and engenders plenty of the requisite claustrophobia. The storytelling is muscular and old-fashioned, and the dialogue’s punchy. And the way such a vessel works is integrated into the plot.
Law is an actor who is improving as he ages out of those pretty-boy roles. And no one does psychopath like the always-excellent Ben Mendelsohn. A well-crafted and—forgive me—immersive movie. (115 min)