Directed by Academy Award winner Kevin Macdonald (The Last King of Scotland), Black Sea focuses on a crew assembled by a mysterious submarine captain in search for treasure hidden deep in the Black Sea. Within the tight and arduous conditions of the submarine, the difficult and unknown circumstances whip the men into a state of frenzy that threatens the entire mission.
Assembled by recently made redundant Captain Robinson (Jude Law), the crew embark on a mission to find the treasure hidden within a Nazi U-boat. With interesting crew members on board – like young, gawky Tobin (Bobby Schofield) and sly financier Daniels (Scoot McNairy), the film constructs a wonderful, scrappy cast that is certainly one of the film’s highlights. Together with the industrial aura of the submarine and the aggressive tension between the crew, Black Sea effectively produces suspense and terror, thereby making the atmosphere thrilling and action-packed.
As the captain of the vessel, Law gives a solid performance as a bitter captain who seeks for the treasure as redemption for his wrongdoings towards his wife and son. Furthermore, Law gives a commanding scene as the Captain, leading the crew with strength and ferocity.
Macdonald excellently creates a feisty and risky atmosphere that is a significant component in the film, helping to generate a convincingly nail-biting, adventurous thriller, utilising the underwater submarine circumstances as a claustrophobic environment that drive the men to turn on one another. The tone of the film hinges upon the eery surroundings of the vessel, as well as the mystery and uncertainty of the treasure that drives everyone inside delirious and greedy. Furthermore, cinematographer Christopher Ross creates an ominous atmosphere within the submarine, constructing a world of mystery and adventure.
Whilst Black Sea is filled with intense moments, the film is unfortunately disadvantaged by the shortcomings of the script, stereotyping the crew into obvious personas as well as the standard “crew heist” template that the film employs. Nevertheless, Black Sea creates a thrilling environment that is filled with fear and suspense, leaving the audience on the edge of their seats.
Combined with the suspense of the story and the dramatic performances for the cast, Black Sea successfully creates a solid mystery/adventure film.