Review of "Black Sea (DVD)"

published 02/09/2017 | thedevilinme
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"Surprisingly good fun British action movie"

Black Sea (DVD)

Black Sea (DVD)

Star – Jude Law
Genre – Action & Adventure
Run Time – 114 minutes
Certificate – 18
Country – U.K.
Amazon – £3.00 DVD £5.00 Blue Ray
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So, after Jude Law didn’t become the next Michel Caine, and known more for dating starlets, his career receding like his hairline. When you tap in ‘Jude Law’ on google bar you get ‘Jude Law girlfriend’ coming up above Jude Law movies. Even though he has been in good films like Spy and the Guy Ritchie Sherlock Holmes films the awards and film festivals have forgotten all about the double Oscar nominee. I’m not hug fan of his but he is genuine movie star with a genuine movie star presence and niche and relative unseen films like Black Sea prove it.

Black Sea is from Scottish director Kevin McDonald (Last King of Scotland and Touching the Void) and a rare British Action & Adventure movie.


• Jude Law as Captain Robinson
• Scoot McNairy as Daniels
• Ben Mendelsohn as Fraser
• David Threlfall as Peters
• Bobby Schofield as Tobin
• Karl Davies as Liam
• Konstantin Khabensky as Blackie
• Grigoriy Dobrygin as Morozov
• Sergei Puskepalis as Zaytsev
• Sergei Kolesnikov as Levchenko
• Tobias Menzies as Lewis
• Jodie Whittaker as Chrissy
• Michael Smiley as Reynolds

Gruff Glasgow alpha male Robinson (Jude Law) is a veteran captain of under-sea salvage who is recently divorced and estranged from his young son. He has just been told that he is to be made redundant, receiving a paltry eight grand pay off for his services as he was contractor for most of those 13 years, asked to clean his desk and leave sharpish by a smug suit.

Later, while having a drink with some former colleagues, Robinson meets up with his friend Kurston (John Norris) and a Russian sailor called Blackie (Konstantin Khabensky). Kurston informs them of an idea to make some serious money. He tells them the legend of a German U-boat from the war that sank off the coast of Georgia with a cargo of gold worth millions. Their former employer found the U-boat's location but was unable to salvage it due to the Georgian conflict with Russia in 2008. He also informs them of a plan he has been working on to secretly recover the gold.

After the drinking, Robinson agrees to meet with an unknown backer called Lewis (Tobias Menzies), another smug rich man who lives in a mansion off the back of the workers. The mysterious Lewis agrees to fund Robinson's expedition on the grounds he receives a 40% split of the proceeds up to $40 million, a 20% cut on any amount above that, and that his executive Daniels (Scoot McNairy) accompany the expedition. Robinson agrees to the deal. This is what Robinson does and he wants to keep doing it.

As he begins to make calls to put a 12 man team together to crew the sub and the dive under the Black Sea, Robinson finds a homeless youth, Tobin (Bobby Schofield), on his doorstep, who tells him that Kurston was a mate but has just killed himself. Robinson is now a man down and takes the kid along.

They rent a rusty Foxtrot-class submarine from the Port of Sevastopol in Georgia. The crew is 50% Russian and 50% British and almost immediately at each others throat when the periscope goes down. Only Blackie speaks Russian and English and the Russians view the young Tobin as a bad omen. Sub mariner tension begins to mount between the crews as they seek out the lost sub, which they believe is balancing on a ledge, having to evade the Russian navy as well. Robinson, a socialist at heart, makes the decision to split the gold equally between each crewman to ease the tension so every man pulls for each other. Daniels is not happy with that and thinks the men will try and increase their share by reducing the crew, so to speak.

When navigator Fraser (Ben Mendelsohn) loses his head and extreme violence briefly breaks out with the Russians, the only radio gets smashed, fire breaks out and the sub is damaged leading to an explosion which knocks Robinson out for 18 hours and critical parts of the sub are now broken beyond repair. The Russians have now taken over half of the ship with the British in the other half. The sub's drive shaft is damaged and they are going nowhere very slowly. But they were very close to the ledge when the explosion happened and the other sub may have the parts they need, as well as all that lovely gold…


This is good fun and Jude Law on top form, even though his Glasgow accent needs work. It’s kind of refreshing to see a British action and adventure movie on our big screens. The days of David Lean are long gone. It’s that angle to it that makes this film more appealing than the standard submarine drama it probably is. The claustrophobic nature of being in a steel tube hundreds of feet under the sea always provides tension and you rarely get a bad sub movie, the way you don’t with time travel films.

It does have some forced silly moments and twists to drive the story forward but that is forgiven as the film is entertaining. If I did know any sub captains I guess they wouldn’t live in manky council flat in Goven.
It’s a solid British cast around Jude Law and the moments of comedy welcome. Watching Jude you can see why he is Oscar nominated with that total control of the film. It would be nice to see him back in the intelligent stylish films he used to do though.

The films mid budget look is compensated by its good use of that money and it always feels bigger budget with McDonald behind the camera. That sub tension just bumps up the experience and you go with the story, however absurd times, what you would expect with mariners seeking hidden treasure. I definitely feel this will appeal to many and you should ignore the average rating on IMDB.

RATINGS – 6.4/10.0 (28,245votes) – 80% critic’s approval – 62% critic’s approval

Special Features

USA Today –‘Black Sea doesn't delve too far below the surface, but it is claustrophobic, compelling and suspenseful’.

The Mail –‘I may have seen something like Black Sea a hundred times before, but the elements hold up, stitched this particular way. If every there was such a thing as submarine movie comfort food, it's this’.

The Times –‘It is a shame Kelly's narrative clunks and clangs along, because Jude Law is terrific as the salty Robinson’.

The Mail –‘It's a tense and watchable tale but without any real surprises, and demands that you drown a little too much of your disbelief’.

San Francisco Times –‘As the perils mount, a certain momentum takes hold, though never quite enough to justify taking up two hours' space in your life’.

Washington post –‘The film's patina of richly textured grime lends the film a gloomy, claustrophobic beauty that serves its mood, as well as its satisfyingly misanthropic message’.



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Comments on this review

  • Violet1278 published 07/09/2017
    An excellent review. E from me.
  • euphie published 06/09/2017
    e :o)
  • Saraa23 published 05/09/2017
    Brilliant review...E
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Product Information : Black Sea (DVD)

Manufacturer's product description

Product Details

EAN: 5053083022884

DVD Region: DVD

Actor(s): Jude Law, Grigoriy Dobrygin, Scoot McNairy, Tobias Menzies

Classification: 15 years and over

Director(s): Kevin Macdonald

Production Year: 2014

Video Category: Feature Film


Listed on Ciao since: 30/08/2017