Think of every major movie where the action centered on a submarine — now add every cliche and a dash of boredom and U-571 is your dish.
The movie centers around the launch to retrieve the German coding during the later stages of WWII and the brave men and women who risked their lives and honor out of duty for their fellow man. This sounds like a great premise for a movie but why must it be fictionalized and steamed for mobile suspense when I’m sure there are many heart-pounding stories of courage that are true. You’d also think with every major cliche of the action world that U-571 would at least be able to stand to its feet for excitement but it’s quite easy to doze off on this underwater snoozer. The characters are all one-in-the-same that I had to identify them by haircut and height in order to know who was who at all times. And when some of them died it took me awhile to process which one it was.
U-571 is full of every old and new Hollywood convention itself that adds nothing to the story or enjoyment as a whole. The up and coming leader is advised he doesn’t “have the stuff to let a man go in order to save others” so let’s try and guess what position he will ultimately be put into. Why is the only black man in the movie a jive-talking chef and why does he jump at the controls and knows what to do INSTANTLY trouble’s afoot. I guess a nuclear submarine and engineering physics is so closely related to spices and stews. Of course everyone’s favorite bad guys (say it with me now together “Germans are always evil”) are in the middle and slaughter a whole group of sea-faring survivors just for the hell of it. Why do they do this? Because they’re Germans, and they have to be more evil so they kill innocent people.
U-571 isn’t a terrible movie, it does hold some credible acting and set designs to bring the look and feel of the 1940s to breathing life. The effects are well done but are sporadically used. Most of the tale takes place about trying to get past one Destroyer – just one. Two hours of this? U-571 may be a prelude to the summer, and if it is it’s going to be a long long movie season.
Nate’s Grade: C
Posted on April 17, 2000, in 2000 Movies and tagged bill paxton, drama, harvey keitel, jonathan mostow, matthew mcconaughey, period film, submarine, thriller, war. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.
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