A great movie that’s released in January is good is like finding $20 on the ground. It rarely happens. But when it does, you want to shout out loud and jump up and down.
So, here I am, shouting and jumping because Black Sea is one of those rare January movies that’s actually good. Like, really really good.
Jude Law plays Robinson, a man who’s given his life to working on and in the water. When he’s laid off from his job as a the Captain of a submarine salvage crew, he and his newly fired pals come up with a plan to find some long rumored treasure that’s been lost at the bottom of the Black Sea. Robinson finds an old Russian sub, a money man to fund the operation and pulls together a crew of sea dogs, half made redundant in recent years and all desperate for work, and the other half Russian, to go after the sunken treasure.
He’s motivated by his hatred of his old company. They flushed them “down like shit. Time for the shit to fight back,” he says.
When they embark on their mission, Robinson decides to give the whole crew equal share in the treasure but this quickly leads to dissension and greed starts creeping in. Crew members start to fight, trust is broken and soon, all hell breaks loose inside the sub.
Directed by Kevin Macdonald (2000 Academy Award winner for the Documentary, One Day in September), the film is something we don’t get a chance to see anymore; a wholly original idea that’s not something sourced from another medium. A film that’s full of suspense and interesting, dark characters.
Law is a born character actor and his chops are as sharp as ever here. He’s got a full on Scottish accent that takes a couple minutes getting used to but he wears it well. His Robinson is moody, resourceful and doesn’t take “no” for an answer. He’ll literally stop at nothing to accomplish his goal.
Ben Mendelsohn plays the heavy of the movie and his character could have easily slipped into a typical cliched villain. But he’s understated and even when he’s doing something terrible, we understand why. We hate him for it, but we understand.
This might not be the best film for the claustrophobic set but for the rest of us, Black Sea is definitely something to check out.
Director: Kevin Macdonald
Writers: Dennis Kelly
Cast: Jude Law, Scoot McNairy, Ben Mendelsohn, David Threlfall, Konstantin Khabenskiy, Sergey Puskepalis, Michael Smiley, Grigory Dobrygin, Sergey Veksler, Sergey Kolesnikov