Black Sea (4 stars)

Black Sea

Gripping submarine thriller from Kevin Macdonald featuring a commanding Jude Law

Directed by Kevin Macdonald (The Last King of Scotland), this enjoyable thriller stars Jude Law as Robinson, a Scottish former submarine captain who's made redundant from his job at a salvage company after 11 years of service. When he hears a story about a downed Russian sub laden with Nazi gold in the depths of the Black Sea, he agrees to head a rag-tag crew of out-of-work engineers and sailors (half Russian, half Scottish) as they set off in a vintage Russian diesel submarine to retrieve the sunken treasure. However, things don't quite go according to plan and tensions soon flare between the men, exacerbated by greed and the sweaty, cramped conditions of the barely functioning sub.

Law nails the Aberdeen accent and makes for a commanding presence as he tries to keep his bickering men focused on the mission at hand. There's also typically superb support from Ben Mendelsohn as an expert diver with a reputation for being a bit of a psycho (that's putting it mildly) and strong character work from the likes of Michael Smiley, Scoot McNairy and David Threlfall. The film gains an extra dose of realism from its authentic Eastern European casting, with actors such as Konstantin Khabenskiy and A Most Wanted Man's Grigoriy Dobrygin playing the Russian crew members.

Macdonald and screenwriter Dennis Kelly (TV's Utopia) tick all the expected submarine thriller boxes while layering in a downtrodden, working class sensibility that gives a convincing feel to the men's desperation. Similarly, Christopher Ross's impressive cinematography and Nick Palmer's superb production design (the film was partly shot aboard a real submarine) generate a powerfully claustrophobic atmosphere that pushes the tension, and these men, all the way to breaking point.

General release from Fri 5 Dec.

Black Sea Official Trailer

Black Sea

  • 4 stars
  • 2014
  • UK
  • 1h 55min
  • Directed by: Kevin Macdonald
  • Cast: Jude Law, Scoot McNairy, Karl Davies, Konstantin Khabensky
  • UK release: 5 December 2014

Robinson (Law) is a Scottish former submarine captain who leads a rag-tag crew of engineers to salvage a downed Russian sub laden with Nazi gold. Law is a commanding presence (he nails the Aberdeen accent) and a superb supporting cast, plus impressive cinematography, make for a powerfully claustrophobic atmosphere.