With Black Sea, Jude Law continues his streak of awesomeness that we felt truly began to pick up steam with his most unglamorous turn in Anna Karenina and he kept extolling excellence with scene-stealing performances in The Grand Budapest Hotel, Dom Hemingway and even Side Effects.
In Black Sea, Law is Captain Robinson, a lifelong submariner who at the start of the film finds himself being talented at a job that time has passed its need for. He’s put in years of his life and being away so much even cost him his wife and child. They live a better life that he can only see from afar. When he gets wind, through an associate and former sub man, that there is a German vessel sitting on the bottom of the Black Sea with what could be the last of the unaccounted for Nazi gold, well then, the future might just be getting brighter.
The actor utilizes a man of the streets of the UK accent that is out of this world, and that is just the tip of the iceberg of why Law is so good in this flick. Law’s Robinson is always in command, yet ruled by emotions that he refuses to talk about (it’s the English way!). But, the actor says much with his face and we know that he knows that his entire future rides on this find and pulling together the right crew to make it happen.
There’s a Russian sub that he could buy and therefore, he’d also need a half-Russian crew to run it. He has his buddies from his UK Navy days and his submarine shipyard days. Watching the UK crew and the Russian crew, with their Cold War leftover feelings of mistrust, is fascinating. There’s hundreds of millions of dollars on the line and that would make you not trust your best friend, much less a handful of guys who spent years being trained to kill you.
It all adds up to a smoldering stew of tension as their bucket of bolts dives deeper into the Black Sea to find their booty. Robinson has established that everyone gets an even share and he hopes that takes greed out of the equation. But, when you're leagues undersea and trapped in a tiny tube, people’s minds play games. Who can you trust? That is just the first of many questions that need to be asked. Yet, there is still a job to do.
Dennis Kelly’s script is custom made for Kevin Macdonald’s directing style and the helmer shows us yet again why we think there is nothing he cannot tackle and triumph. Who would have thought that the man who gave us the Oscar-winning The Last King of Scotland and the astounding documentary Marley would deliver a submarine thriller that will have audiences gasping for air?
That’s exactly what he did. The helmer also does so in a manner that shuns cliches and embraces the submarine subgenre of thrillers and pushes the envelope to make Black Sea about so much more than taking a sub to the bottom of the titular body of water to recover hundreds of millions of dollars worth of Nazi gold.
Our Black Sea review reports that it is also a timely film about the haves and have nots. Macdonald’s work also explores the greedy nature of man and what depths we will go to for family to ensure that our children have a better life than we even dreamed of.