User Reviews (65)

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  • missmarmite12 September 2004
    I just rented this film (on DVD) because I liked the cast. In the case of William H Macy, I just trust his choice in scripts. Whatever he chooses to play, should I choose to watch. We seem to have the same taste somehow. So I hoped it would work again with this film.

    I'm not interested in submarines, I'm not eager to watch films set in any war, I'm not even particularly fond of Til Schweiger, our German heartthrob, although Thomas Kretschmann is definitely an interesting actor. One to watch, believe me. But still this film fascinated me. So trusting Macy's choice worked once again.

    The story had a couple of twists which I always like, dialogue in two languages (one third German, two thirds English) which is even better, and quite well developed (main) characters. All this makes a good film, not brilliant, but good. Good craftsmanship. I liked the German actors's "natural" accents, thankfully they were not forced to have worse accents than they normally have. And I liked in particular that at least in the leading roles it were Germans the filmmakers hired and not some Swedes, Americans or Britons replacing them like in other films like Ronin (Swede= Stellan Skarsgard) or Die Hard (Briton= Alan Rickman).

    So, I think I can recommend this film, even to people outside the probable target group of young men. This film is not so much about war and fighting, but about the possibility of enemies working together and even becoming friends if you get the chance to get to know each other better and realizing, we are all humans after all.

    8 out of 10.
  • The film is based on historic deeds,thus the construction of new U-boats continued at a record -breaking during WWII. In 1942-43 Hitler raised enormously his U-boat strength,the German submarines sank numerous ships,in early 1943 the called ¨Wolf packs¨sank 90 ships in 20 days.Then,suddenly ,between March and June 1943,an exceptional change took place .The Allies began to win the war against Hitler's underwater in the Battle of the Atlantic.By this time the technique of submarines warfare had advanced far beyond that used in the beginning the war.The Allies pitted thousands of boats,seamen,destroyers,cruisers,subs,cannons and billion of dollars against the undersea craft .As early as December 1943 Karl Doeniz ,the architect and designer of U-boat campaign,admitted the grave turn in events.The cost was great on both sides .In the six years of war ,the Germans,by their own statistics,destroyed more than 2000 British,Allied ships in the sea.Hitler had built 1162 subs ,of which 783 were lost.Of the 41000 men recruited into the underwater service ,between 28000 and 32000 lost their lives and 500 were taken prisoners.

    The picture narrates as the USS Swordfish underwater commanded by Cmdr Randall(Scott Caan) and the sergeant(William H. Macy)and with the crew(Jeremy Sisto,Sam Huntington among others)is sunk ,then they are captured by a Nazi U-Boat 424 commanded by a captain(Til Schweiger) and officer(Thomas Kretschman). The Americans led by the sergeant try to take over the German sub and to make their way back home confronting against Nazis sailors ,through enemies destroyers they manage to arrive at three hundred miles US coast.The movie contains nail-biting action,drama,suspense in a claustrophobic atmosphere although complemented with some of archive stock footage.

    The film provides a realistic detailing of life aboard and a portrait about the crews subjected to stressful and psychological tensions.In fact the sailors had sleep in shifts.For months they were lodged in close quarters because every inch the space was needed for machinery,supplies and torpedoes.The air was heavy with odors from bilges,diesel oil and unwashed bodies.The men faced sudden death from depth charges ,aerial bombing attacks or the sharp bow of a swift destroyer as happen in this film.
  • This movie is a watchable one. It's not really a memorable one though but when you decide to watch it, it won't bore you.

    When the movie began I was kind of worried. The editing was poor and the acting horrible B-movie like and it had a made-for-TV kind of look. But thankfully all those things improved later as the movie progressed.

    It's obvious that the budget wasn't very big since they had to use stock footage from movies like "U-571" and even "Down Periscope". They also used stock footage from real WW II Destroyers and other boats which was pretty obvious at times, it was kind of amateur-like and unrealistic the way it was edited into the movie.

    The story is pretty solid, despite some awfully weak dialog at times. It was at first kind of weird that the movie focused on both the Americans and Germans in the same way but later in the movie it becomes obvious why. The movie mostly fails to become tense but still its perfect good entertainment to watch all.

    Not a must see by any means but when you decide to see it nevertheless, you will be fairly entertained. And hey it has got William H. Macy and Thomas Kretschmann and some other well known actors in small roles in it, which makes this movie absolutely, very well watchable.

  • This movie slipped by in the U.S. theaters, with DVD release only, so I found out about it from a U-Boat movie recruit friend. With William H. Macy, Til Schweiger, and Thomas Kretschmann (the latter now well known for his role in "The Pianist" there is no excuse for no release.

    The details are well documented in other reviews. I have seen many such films, in German and English. After watching half in English, I purchased a copy in German (well-dubbed). I tend to find such films more convincing (easier to suspend disbelief), although the down side there is seeing American actors speaking perfect German. Well, perhaps there will come a copy someday with appropriate subtitles.

    Of course, the film that really shows U-Boat conditions is the film Das Boot. I do not know the budget of this film, but the cramped quarters, filth, and unseemly conditions were not part of the budget.

    However, the decision of the Kaleun (Kapitän-Leutnant) Schweiger to take on American prisoners (against Oberkommando des Kriegsmarines orders), deal with the inevitable conflict--American soldiers and sailors were well-indoctrinated to hate Germans--after the certain death of his daughter to Allied bombing is more than touching.

    Kretschmann's performance is especially noteworthy. Although he once wanted an American Hollywood acting career, and has most frequently been cast as a German military man, all of these performances have been quite different, a testimony to some real acting skill. He has it in spades. Til Schweiger is, as I have read, a "matinee idol"--he does not have to act.

    To war film afficionados, most highly recommended, to those who wish to see some great German actors, also highly recommended, and finally, to fans of William H. Macy, a guaranteed pleasure. There is enough WW2 period ambiance to keep this film in suspense.
  • I couldn't figure out why there were so many bad reviews on this film until I found out that the film was first released in Europe and that version was terrible. Then, Lion's Gate picked it up and I watched it again and there was no comparison. The biggest problem is that most of the DVD's out there are the old version and therefore, bad, bad bad.

    Now the good news. If you can get hold a copy of the new version, you are going to be pleasantly surprised. "In Enemy Hands" is an excellent film about the Americans and the Germans inside a U-Boat. It is very well made, in terms of both acting and directing, and doesn't disappoint.

    There were some scenes that held the movie up, longer than they needed to be, or were just pointless, but still, "In Enemy Hands" is a very good film. There were some great scenes involving some black humor and there were scenes that were very touching and powerful. Its very enjoyable from start to finish and will not fail to impress.

    The acting is top-notch - William Macy gives his best performances as does Lauren Holly. They couldn't have done a better job. Til Schweiger also gives a great performance. There were times where he could have done better, but all in all, he was very good.

    Ton Giglio does a good job directing this. I haven't seen much of his work, but what I did see were excellent movies - although nowhere near as good as this. He is able to give this film the dark atmosphere it needs and couldn't have been better.

    If you haven't seen this version yet, you should definitely rent this when you get the chance. The newest version of "In Enemy Hands" is a well-made film that won't disappoint. It combines very good acting and directing, clever black humor, and very touching moments, which all make a brilliant movie.

    Like I said, this version is sooooo much better, and shouldn't be missed.
  • alfonsobh2 August 2005
    hello everybody, having read several comments on this movie, I feel like doing the same myself. I didn't expect too much out of it when I took it home to watch it. the story to my mind has a very unique idea as a layer, I liked it very much. still I thought it was a bit much on the cliché-side, but still very good. The acting was quite amazing at times, especially macy and kretschmann did a great job. personally I never liked schweiger that much, but he did a great job on this movie too. some minor roles were quite good i thought, such as rene heger's. what i liked most about the movie were the dialogs between macy and kretschmann, especially towards the end, quite touching i thought. all in all, i think its a movie that is worth watching.
  • Every movie doesn't have to be academy award material. In fact many if not most movies try to be entertaining with interesting ideas. This is one of those movies. A WWII submarine backdrop that forces an alliances between two fighting sides for mutual survival. Ya, sub experts can pick apart some of the tech and tactics but that's not the point of the movie. It's like going to a stage play and picking apart the stage props as not being realistic. It's not the stage but the story that is interesting in this movie. As the world faces global warming, expensive energy, nuclear issues we all can take a lessen that working together to solve our problems would be far more productive than trying to kill each other (the under lying story of this movie).
  • I must agree with Sean and believe this is an excellent movie. I haven't seen the other version he mentioned, just the late version and it gives a look into what goes on in the minds of those at war as well as what they do. I recommend this movie to anyone who has a conscience and wonders what it is like in war. This movie is very realistic and authentic as to life aboard a sub. Having served four years in the US NAVY and serving in the Cuban crisis as well as Vietnam I thoroughly enjoyed this movie. The acting is good and the movie has a good plot. If You have eve been in the service or just plain enjoy a good movie I believe that you will enjoy this movie. I don't normally write a review on movies and may never do it again for all that I know but this movie was good enough or me to do so.
  • This is without a doubt, the worst submarine warfare movie that I have ever seen. The acting was "wooden", even Macy seemed to be "off". Even worse, there are so many historical errors, 1000 words would not begin to allow description. Had the acting been better, this might have been bearable and easier to overlook. That was not the case. The "sets" are completely unbelievable, U boats and Gato class Subs were incredibly small, wet, stinky and dirty places. This is why they were called "Pig" boats. There was no smoking on board submarines, except on deck when surfaced. Subs did not fire torpedoes at one another when below periscope depth or maneuvering under water. Submarines are cramped and full of wires, cables, pipes and valves. Radios and radiotelegraphs of the day do not work when submerged. The American captain "ordering" the deathly sick executive officer to his battle station would never happen. Submarines did not carry an "MD", medical issues would have been taken care of by a Pharmacy Mate and the Sub commander would have been well aware of the Execs condition and this condition would likely have ended a war patrol. The German U-boats never took aboard captives, and certainly not the numbers represented here, there was no room, food or water on these boats to support prisoners. In fact, after events early in the War, Karl Doenitz issued the "Laconia Order", which PROHIBITED U-Boats from taking on ANY survivor from enemy ships. American Admiral Nimitz signed and affidavit to the effect that American subs were under similar orders. German and American Enlisted Sailors would NEVER have spoken back to their commanding officers as these fellows did. There would have been no "discussion" or "voting" once the ranking officer made the decision and gave orders. If you want to see a REAL WW II Submarine movie, by far the best, most historically accurate is "Das Boot". This movie was a waste of time and electricity.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    It is 45 minutes into the movie. The torpedo that was launched by breakaway prisoners has exploded within 5 seconds of launch. The thought that occurred to me 15 minutes earlier suddenly became stronger then my headache – "This movie is so bad that I don't want to waste any more time on it". Yes, this is movie is so bad that it does not deserve a "points for effort", because there was no effort involved in creating this movie. Production is so bad that neither bad acting nor bad directing can compete with it. First of all, all younger actors (apart from those that portray German officers) are already known as bad actors. Furthermore, I cannot stand the actors that think they are so big stars that they are above such trivia as having a navy haircut that corresponds to the period, or even to behave as real naval officer. Instead, they behave like in the crappy TV series they appeared before, and their interpretation of navy officer resembles to the occasions they were daydreaming about becoming an officer. William H. Macy behaves the same way as in "Fargo", but this is no "Fargo" and he should be a Chief of boat. The crew of German submarine looks and behaves like bunch of hooligans spiced up with few skinny drug-addicts. And that is all worth mentioning about acting. Being a history/military/WW2 fan, it hard to me to swallow thingies that are out of order. I'm not talking about replicating technical details – that is sometimes just to expensive. I'm talking about basic things like chain of command, crew number (there was about 100 men on a German sub, and only 2 are in torpedo room?!?), ridiculous orders, no one checking on vomiting prisoner and the pearl of the all (typical example of numerous inconsistencies): Radio operator (or navigator?) – There is no one! There is no supply ship! There is nothing on radio! Captain – Really? OK, lets bring the periscope up! Now… This, together with the fact that there was no mention of surface watch, means that the submarine was submerged. In that time, and today as well, there is no way a submerged submarine could receive a radio message! The sub should surface!

    Despite me being a history fan, I have to admit that having so many "historical" captions during movie is just way too much. There's ate least 10 captions saying "X days later, Y miles of the coast" during first 30 minutes of movie, and about 4 of them within 5 minutes.

    If we disregard crappy interpretation of naval rules, behavior and technology, this is still a very bad movie with awful acting. Do not waste your time, just skip to the scene where guy that looks like Borat plays another German captain. And behaves like Borat.
  • magorapg3 June 2007
    Warning: Spoilers
    Boy was this movie bad. The premise was horrible and unlikely. I do not pretend to be an expert on submarines, but, I do know a few things: 1.Submarines would never pick up extra passengers, especially not enemies. They have limited space, air and supplies, why would they change the equation. 2.the acting sucks. Every scene with Macy and his wife was cheesy at best. Over all no one really does an outstanding job, although I think that the Germans were better over all. The dialog is also very bad.

    The one good thing I can say about this movie is that the Germans actually speak German... but then again they use incorrect forms of address. I recommend watching "Das Boot" instead.
  • CaptSquid11 October 2008
    Warning: Spoilers
    This film came out long after Das Boot, one of the best, if not the penultimate, submarine movies ever made. Yet, this one ranks with Pearl Harbor for lack of any semblance of accuracy or credibility.

    Pristine white shirts and covers in a greasy environment makes you wonder what the director was thinking. Nothing remains that clean on a submarine -- EVER! The boats of both sides continuously operate submerged. Who are they trying to kid? The atmosphere inside would become lethal after 24 hours. The batteries would begin to go flat and the boat would begin to die.

    When at the rendezvous point with the Milchkuh, the Kaleun raises the periscope to look for the Milchkuh. Upon sighting the destroyer, the Kaleun left the periscope up, a fatal mistake. He kept it up even as he ordered a deep dive! The man has a death wish.

    The American destroyer must have a hold the size of Texas in order to accommodate all the depth charges it manages to drop ineffectively against this boat.

    The factual errors continue to mount as the film goes on.

    If you have a choice, avoid this film like the plague. If someone sends it to you as a gift, turn the DVD into a coaster or a flying disc toy.
  • This film is an embarrassment. The script is cliché ridden and most of the acting from the American side is horrible. Props and sets are phony to the point where objects are inserted "to create a WWII feeling" with everything obviously modern in the background. There are a couple shots of the American Captain's Bunk with multiple pictures of different WWII pinup girls posted all over his cabin... somewhat unprofessional for a Navy Officer, looked more like a WWII teenage boy's room.

    The sets were way to large, especially in the torpedo rooms..... and I never realized the expression used by William Macy "stop talking' trash" was part of the WWII lexicon. And the phony Veronica Lake Hair across the face look for Holly was just foolish. It remind me of the cartoon character female lead from Roger Rabbit. The storyline had potential and I am sure that's what sucked Macy into doing this thing. In the end I am sure it was just an easy payday waiting for better films like The Cooler... do not waste money.
  • I have always been fascinated by war movies, and in the past few years I have seen U-571 a thousand times. When I first started to watch this film, I thought it was going to be another one of those movies were the Germans are shown as baby eating monsters, who without proper instruction might put their shoes on the wrong feet. However, this movie was shown to what I would believe to be true. The director showed that not only the Germans were destructible, but the Americans were too. This movie showed that the Americans were also human, and they could be destroyed.

    I can honestly say this is the best War movie I have ever seen.
  • The screenplay was pretty lousy to begin with - but I guess I can give the actors credit for doing a good job for what they had. Macy is a favorite of mine and I give him credit for taking risks - so I find it hard to give him a bad review. It is, well, the problem is that the proposition the whole film is based on lacks credibility and the dialog is weak. It was so sickeningly "give-me-a-hug-its-wartime" and "we are at war but we really love each other" - man, it is like Barbara Streisand wrote this *war* film.

    I can't believe so many people liked it. I wasted $3.99 on pay-per-view because of the comments on this board. The overall quality of this stinker barely comes up to a USA movie of the week, let alone a theater release. It was so bad that at the end I half expected the joint German/US crew to join together for a chorus of "Kum Bay Yah".
  • gstan13 November 2004
    I can't believe that this movie even got a 5.9 rating. Should be zero. The casting stinks. The acting stinks. The directing stinks. It's historical accuracy stinks. It's technical accuracy stinks. This thing could only appeal to someone who has absolutely no knowledge of or appreciation of history or has no military experience of any kind. If you want to know what it's like on a real submarine, watch 'Das Boot' which is probably the best submarine movie ever made. It's casting is excellent, the acting first rate, the timing/editing spot on. 'The Hunt for Red October' will give you a good idea of the mentality of military men. It's also well done and technically accurate.
  • voorhees198021 December 2004
    Rented this the other evening when the DVD shelves were basically empty. Never heard of it before, but saw William H. Macy on the cover and took a shot. I think he's one of the most interesting actors working today.

    I don't usually like submarine films, but this was very good. The performances by Macy and the German guys were great. I never knew where the story was going.

    This felt very real and unique and the fact that the German characters actually spoke German made it all the more real. I hate in movies when you have 2 different characters from two different countries and everyone speaks English (i.e. ENEMY AT THE GATES) It takes you right out of the film.

    Weird how movies like this just pop out of nowhere. But this was a nice surprise.

    I highly recommend it 9/10.
  • Lion's Gate totally missed the boat (or u-boat in this case) when they stuck this on a shelf and then shuffled it off to the DVD distributors.... this was a terrific movie that could have done well in the theaters or even a world premiere on Showtime or HBO but instead, they tossed it aside with no publicity or promotion!! This is a perfect example of the mentality of these kinds of distributors!!!......

    This film ranks as one of the best WWII submarine movies i have ever seen and that is saying a lot considering the fact that i am a WWii movie buff and have watched almost every one that has come out. if you like these kinds of films, rent this one. you'll be glad you did .
  • lahpez30 March 2009
    This movie is running on Danish television as I write this. I watched about half of it, then I decided to abandon ship. Obvious factual errors (and I'm not even a sub-buff, although I have a general interest in military, warfare, and WW II), silly "dramatic" effects, like when Macy has a "vision" (?) of his wife aboard the German sub, the ridiculous concept of prisoners being kept chained and standing for three days, a chained prisoner with a breathing device which he spits out, etc, etc.

    I haven't seen much of Macy; he seems to be a competent actor, but what a waste...

    This movie s(t)inks. It really makes me regret I didn't buy the director's cut of Das Boot when I saw it at a fairly bargain price in a store just today. The comments here on IMDb were far more entertaining than the movie.
  • This has to be the worst u-boat movie ever. There are huge factual errors making the thing nearly unwatchable. Just some of the worst: - In WWII you didn't shoot at other submerged U-Boats with torpedoes because the chance of hitting were - as the torpedoes of this time were not guided by any means but just followed a preset straight path and detection was mostly based on hearing - ZERO. - You don't shoot at submerged boats with artillery. If the boat's close enough to give you a chance to hit the trajectory of the shells would be quite flat.

    The military advice they got for this movie was probably from "Red October", they just forgot that 30 years changed a lot in naval warfare technology.

    Beside that: Horrible Script and quite bad acting of many of the others - Schweiger was more or less OK and Kretschmann was quite good, but Caan... such a weak performance (again). He didn't improve a bit since he played the bully in Enemy of the state.

    I'm very disappointed that Macey played in this B-Movie. He should know better.
  • jezassen13 August 2004
    This is really one of the best movies about the 2nd world war I have seen so far. The way they show that 2 enemies can work together as one to stay alive during the war on a German submarine is really great. At first i thought it would be one of many movies about this war, but this one is different. I can only say one thing. SEE IT! I don't get it that this movie only has a 5.0 as a mark. I think it should be a lot higher. If anybody thinks that this movie is not worth to see he's crazy. (Y) Normally i don't like Germans because of the 2nd world war, but after this movie it's easier to understand what they must have felt during the war, under the command of Hitler.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    ... and it is Das Boot.

    The first 30 minutes of the movie is actually quite entertaining. The movie is moving on fast with some action points. Characters are described shallowly. But then IT happens...


    Once again, yankees are the smart ones and Germans are idiots. It is so predictable what happens after some yankees are captured to German u-boat. Seriously ill yankees gets rid off their handcuffs and beats some Germans. Little unrealistic? At least after hanging 3 days in those...

    ***** END OF A LITTLE SPOILER *****

    I don't know why this film is advertised as "ultra realistic". It is the same bull***t as all Hollywood war movies. Does even yankees themselves appreciate these U-571, U-Boat etc.
  • gungormus17 June 2004
    Warning: Spoilers
    This is not the best U-Boat movie I've ever seen but it has an original story. It's an ordinary Hollywood war movie, but not an ordinary U-Boat movie.

    It's end is predictable of course because the winners write the history (and make the movies) but inside the story you can see some surprises.(or unexpected things) If only they wouldn't insist putting some love stories into war movies to make reasons for the men to try to stay alive. A man has more reasons than love to stay alive :)

    Anyway it worths to spare time to watch...

    SPOILER Still something disturbs me, like Germans speaking perfect English (not even accent), meningitis in a submarine- no precautions,everyone stays close for days with open rashes- and it's not spread as expected... SPOILER
  • Enchorde7 November 2008
    Warning: Spoilers
    Recap: Nathan Travers is the Chief aboard the USS Swordfish, captained by the young and somewhat inexperienced Lt Cmdr Randall Sullivan. On their way home they come upon not one but two German submarines. They manage to sink one but is so damaged they must abandon ship. The few survivors are rescued by the second German submarine. However, Sullivan is infected by a contagious disease and soon it spreads among the German crew. Finally they find themselves in a dire situation, prisoners aboard an enemy submarine and lacking both fuel and supplies.

    Comments: Looking at the cast is enough to decide to watch this movie. Macy is a personal favorite that is cast in a little unusual role for him, in a main character in what resembles an action. Then there is Scott Caan, Til Schweiger and Thomas Kretchmann among others. Great cast, that gives a good performance. And an added bonus is that the German crew speaks German among themselves, makes it so much more plausible.

    However, the story is not really up to the task. Yes, clearly adequate for a movie but nothing extra. The developments are mostly clear well beforehand and there are no major twists, no real threats. It lacks a little concerning suspense. Still, it is never boring to watch, something happens all the time.

    A really good movie, good entertainment for a night.

  • Warning: Spoilers
    A full captain in charge of an American Destroyer - really? And another one near the end? LCDR if lucky. Meh, I never expected accuracy from Hollyweird. Moving on, I can get over it. This story is so full of holes - it almost seems fictional. Wait, the real Swordfish was lost in the Pacific (not the Atlantic) - so THIS is fictional. Nice radar screens on the surface ship - silly thing is making all sorts of active sonar sounds while rotating - sheesh. So what, in Hollyweird, they all made that sound up until just a couple years ago. In any case the show was as well directed as any other movie I've seen lately. I enjoyed the story (if one counts on Hollywood for historical reference - you are making a mistake). The acting was as good as it gets, especially without the huge dependencies on CGI and special effects. History aside, it was an enjoyable tale.
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