24 April 2000 | BlueEyesDaniel
On the edge... of your seat...
It's 1941. The German U-Boats are wreaking havoc in the North Atlantic, sinking every Allied ship in their path and threatening to cut off the critical supply line from America to Britain that is saving the Allied War Effort. In a Special Operation Mission a US Submarine Crew, headed by Captain Dahlgren (Bill Paxton), are sent to capture the Enigma Code (the German Code that is allowing them to position there submarines without alerting the Allies) which will change the course of the war.
The main plot of the movie, thought completely fictional, works well and maintains a viewers interest. However, it is sure to raise a lot of controversial discussion as it was the British and not the Americans who recovered the Enigma Machine in World War II. Unlike standard submarine movies U-571 is full of twists and turns, especially in the first hour. Because of this U-571 is definitely a film that you have to concentrate in otherwise you'll miss a lot of vital information.
It is obvious that writer-director Jonathan Mostow has researched U-571 well as the nail-biting tension is ever present in the confines of a cramped submarine with a very stressed crew. Mostow's strongest point in this film would be his directing which keeps any viewer tuned in and on the edge of their seats. The camera work is brilliant and Mostow in several scenes keeps the viewer guessing what will come next in this nail-biting epic. The most notable sequence occurs when a Nazi Destroyer is dropping depth charges to try and kill the US Navy Crew. One second the viewer is watching a depth charge mercilessly head for the submarine and the next moment the viewer is watching the reaction of the Navy Crew. Sequences like this truly bring a realistic touch to the film.
The acting is just as brilliant as the directing. This is mostly because the cast were out at sea in a fully working submarine while filming U-571. Actors such as Matthew McConaughey are truly brilliant. Fear and stress is ever present on their faces and highly emotional times come across brilliantly. Other actors such as Harvey Keitel are brilliant but Jon Bon Jovi is the biggest surprise of the film. He does a brilliant job with this film and you're left wondering whether or not that was truly him.
My main disappointment in the film was the musical score by Richard Marvin. Don't take that the wrong way, the score was good. However, at times it could have been just that little bit better. There were scenes where the music was raging but dead silence would have had a better effect on the audience.
I was also disappointed with the end of the film. As a fan of 1981's Das Boot I don't think the ending of any submarine film could ever be as good. However, that's not to say that the U-571 was bad.
All in all U-571 is a brilliant film that is well worth seeing. You'll be left on the edge of your seat as you wonder what is coming next. Twists and turns will at times leave you a tad confused but just add to the emotion that you have for the characters. This is the sort of film you have to truly see in the cinema with surround sound, however, I can imagine that the DVD will be superb! I give it 4/5 stars.