DIRECTOR: Jonathan Mostow
NOT A PART OF OUR COLLECTION
May Contain Spoilers!
Will we be adding this to our collection? NO
No matter what is said about this film, it will at least be one of the last real attempts for Matthew McConaughey to take a role seriously and he does keep his shirt on, so that’s something. But, even back in 1999, this film was courting controversy before it even hit cinema screens in the year 2000. Its scandalous re-writing of World War II history which gave the U.S. credit for taking the first Enigma machine from Nazi U-boat, U-571, when in fact it was a British victory, set this film on the wrong foot from day zero.
And this may well be one its greatest flaws and it ultimate undoing. That and the casting Jon Bon Jovi! Actually, scrap that last comment, as he was not the worst thing in this film by a long shot. If only they had written this a little differently. It they had made the object of the U.S. sub’s mission something of great FICTIONAL importance, then some of the films other flaws might not have been so visible.
It’s not all bad. The look of the film is actually quite good, with leaking subs, decent visual effects, some interesting concepts, such as the U.S. crew being stranded on the taken U-Boat and unable to operate it because everything was in German, was a nice touch. But the acting and scripting wasn’t up to much, and along with the overly flamboyant score, destroyed what should have been a gritty and Das Boot like aesthetic.
It was this muddled tone which confuses you as what you are supposed to be watching. You’ve got Bon Jovi getting blown to kingdom come whilst taking pictures, Bill Paxton never really accepting that he’s only at his best with bit parts in James Cameron movies and endless depth charges. DEPTH CHARGE sequences are BORING! Why does nobody get this! Splash, bang. Splash, BANG! That’s about it.
The director, Johnathan Mostow has had a few interesting credits to his name, with Breakdown (1998) and Terminator 3: Rise Of The Machines (2003), but this is not his best work, with the other two at least delivering on there potential with a little more zest that this, a film which will mainly be remembered for taking false credit for winning WWII.
So the aesthetic was half way there and the plot had potential but the crass and arrogant re-writing of history was the first nail in U-571’s coffin, with a muddled tone, poor acting and depth change filler finishing it off. Looks like it’s just Crimson Tide (1995) which is giving the Das Boot (1981) a run for its money. U-571 was sadly a non-starter.