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U-571 (2000)


Elevator Pitch.

In 1942 American intelligence intercepts a message from a German submarine which is disabled on the surface in the Atlantic. The Kriegsmarine dispatch a supply sub with spares and expertise, and so the US navy disguise a submarine as this vessel and send it out to capture the damaged sub together with its Enigma machine. The attack succeeds but with the only the boarding party on U-571 their own submarine is sunk by the supply sub leaving them with no alternative but to fight the Germans with one of their own craft.


The US Navy guys are ousted from a dance to get their disguised submarine to sea, the Germans are seen to be villanous when they machine gun the survivors of a shipwreck. The attack takes place and subsequently there are torpedo duels between two submerged submarines and then the Americans on U-571 are required to survive an attack with depth charges by a German destroyer, and subsequently fight it on the surface. There are tense scenes in the submarines and a lot of explosions and spraying water, but no nudity or any of that sort of thing.

A View.

Obviously the whole plot is completely proposterous, but if you can get over that it is quite watchable with realistic moments of tension. I had a problem with the German destroyer since it seemed to be being played by two or three different ships/CGI constructs. You might take exception to the American hijack of a Royal Navy boarding of a German sub which captured the code books in WWII if you are British, which resulted in questions in Parliament. But if you can forget all that you can enjoy the well constructed underwater stuff, which is actually what the American film industry does really well.

Duration 1h 56m Rating (UK) 12
Source of story Well – you could say it was “inspired” by real events.
Director Jonathan Mostow
Writers/Script Jonathan Mostow, Sam Montgomery, David Ayer
Starring Matthew McConaughey, Bill Paxton, Harvey Keitel, Jon Bon Jovi, Jake Weber, Robin Askwith
Additional Info I noticed that one of the people machine gunned in a lifeboat was Robin Askwith, who starred in a number of British soft porn comedies back in the 1970s. “Confessions of…”

About Victor R Gibson

Author of this site three technical books and two novels


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