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Black Sea | 2015 | R | - 2.6.10

A submarine captain (Jude Law) and his diverse crew search for a sunken U-boat at the bottom of the Black Sea, rumored to be full of gold ingots. Rising claustrophobia, greed and desperation causes them to turn on each other. Also with Scoot McNairy, Ben Mendelsohn, Michael Smiley, David Threlfall, Grigoriy Dobrygin and Tobias Menzies. Directed by Kevin Macdonald. Several lines of dialogue are in Russian with English subtitles; a few phrases of Russian have no translation. [1:55]

SEX/NUDITY 2 - Members of a submarine crew say that a young man (age 17) on board is bad luck because he is a virgin and the teen reveals through a picture that his girlfriend is expecting a baby (we see her swollen belly). A man says that at sea all he thinks of is sex.
 Four scenes feature shirtless men with black tattoos on their forearms, knuckles, upper arms, and backs; one back tattoo is a cross with a nude woman hanging from it and we see her bared shoulders, arms, large breasts, nipples and upper abdomen (no navel). A man sees blurred visions of his wife wearing a bikini and his shirtless son at a beach three times (once we see her abdomen and slight cleavage).

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VIOLENCE/GORE 6 - A man manipulates a combat knife and charges into a submarine engine room where he shouts at a supervisor, stabs him below the heart, and the victim gasps, falls back and does not reappear and is presumably dead (we see a little blood); the drive shaft sparks, catches oil and fuel aflame and blows a hole into the bulkhead, throwing men and we see large balls of flame and some smoke as we hear metal grinding and see the sub drop to the sea floor with men falling, sliding and suffering some superficial cuts; the camera cuts to the inside of the sub and a man awakening in a bunk with blood on his face and the top of his head, which is covered with bandages, while above him a dead man hangs out of another bunk, his face, arms and hands covered with 3rd degree burns and completely charred strips of flesh (his closed eyes are swollen, black and cracked); another sailor sends the dead man through a torpedo tube after saying, "Sorry, lad." A man says, "We're all going to die!" as a sub drifts onto a collision course with a rock wall, but stops in time and the captain orders it through a 100-metre wide canyon where the tailfin scrapes a rock wall loudly; a drive shaft on the sub sparks and catches fire and the camera cuts to the outside, where we see and hear a large explosion amid ship that causes it to sink to the sea floor; one man screams that his ears hurt from the crush depth and water begins pouring in through broken bulkhead seams as lights flick on and men seal leaks but new ones appear, on a lower deck we see men in a flooded area die as ceiling lights burst and send sparking electricity into the water (we see men fall below the screen) while other men shout for help, and a man seals off a door to the remaining dry rooms on the sub before getting his belt and trousers leg caught in it and he is trapped in a room as water leaks in around him.
 A man tells another man to kill a third man sitting in the same work area with them; after several moments' hesitation, the man picks up a large spanner, hits the man in the head below the screen and then beats the victim several times with it; the camera cuts to the victim, lying face down with blood draining from his head, hair and several cuts to an arm; the killer's face is splattered with blood. A large man pulls a teen boy from a bunk and slams him to the floor with a loud thud; the boy runs out of the room, shaken. A teen boy sees the charred face of a dead body floating by and screams, falling and stumbling, but calms himself again. In an engine room, a man turns the wrong valve wheel and scalds a worker with hot engine backwash; the scalded man screams, throws tools at the other man and misses (the scalding victim later looks unhurt). A teen falls over a cliff and a man grabs and pulls him back, saying the teen's underwear may be dirty now (defecation implied). Gory, moldy skeletons are shown lying on the decks inside Nazi uniforms (we see some skulls and ribs in close-up) and two skeletons lie chained to pipes at the wrists and feet and we hear that these bodies were cannibalized.
 A submarine reaches crush depth, causing glass dial covers to crack and water begins to leak via welded seams in the bulkheads; men shout and run to repair the leaks as lights turn red. A man takes a winning lottery ticket away from a man and burns it with his cigarette lighter. A captain argues loudly with a company agent in a room where he screams, pulls off his leather belt, and tells the agent to tie the door latch down to keep other men from killing him. We see one man swim to the surface, break it, and gasp for air, apparently safe; seconds later, the second man bobs up and gasps loudly, also safe and a third man remains in the sub calmly lighting and smoking a cigarette (death seems imminent). After finding a sunken U-boat, three men struggle with a heavy cart on the way back to their sunken sub, filled with engine parts and treasure; we hear heavy breathing and a winch creaking as the men push and stumble in sand and an older man falls into a ravine, his oxygen line is cut and we hear him yell in fright on his way down (he is left for dead).
 World War II archival footage shows sparking U-boat drive shafts and Hitler returning salutes from soldiers. We see a photo in a sunken U-boat of Hitler sitting near ingots of gold. Three submariners don diving suits and go into the dark water with flashlights on their helmets; one panics and gasps, finally calms himself, and the oldest man wheezes. Many scenes occur inside a rusty old submarine where it is dark and emergency lights come on several times; crewmen become sweaty and grimy quickly and one man complains of claustrophobia and later says he needs a hospital, but the captain says, "Shut up!" and shouts "Shut up" to other complainers seven more times; the atmosphere in the submarine is tense and men look anxious or frightened many times as we hear clinks and thuds from off-screen.
 A husband has a loud argument with his wife over his work. One man yells about another, "I am going to kill him!" A paperback book on a table is titled "A Killing Time." A captain tells his crew that he will jettison any disobedient members out the torpedo tubes. A captain shouts at a man for using the radio and raises an axe, points it at the man and smashes the blade into a tabletop before chopping and destroying the radio with his axe. We understand that after a rich company laid a man off, he killed himself with pills because he could not pay his bills (please see the Substance Use category for more details); another man says that the company treated workers badly, but that they are fighting back. A corporation agent on board a submarine spreads rumors that some crewmembers are thinking of killing off other members, so that the remaining men can receive larger amounts of treasure to be split among them. We hear that a crewman might be sick and another man says, "He had better have cancer." Submarine crewmen insult one another as soon as they board ship. A man says with a smile to another man, who does not understand, "Later, up top, I am going to eat your liver." A man calls a plate of food a name, pours it out onto the table, and the cook shouts at him; the table full of men in the galley begins shouting. A man tells an older man to stop wheezing and the older man complains of emphysema. A man with a handgun threatens another man before shouting at everyone to resume their posts. A man tells a coworker that others want the youngest crew member to kill himself. A man tells another man that outside a submarine, it is dark, cold, deadly, and high-pressure. A captain tells his submariners that they will sail "radio silence" and "no escape," meaning that they cannot contact anyone and cannot leave the vessel, because safety apparatuses do not function. A man tells two other men to exhale only as they rise to the surface, or they will destroy their lungs before placing them inside torpedo tubes and shooting them outside.
 A man removes chewing gum from his mouth, smells it, and tosses in into a patch of grass. A man spits on a rag to clean a metal wheel (we see no spittle). A cook spits on an onion to clean it and wipes it with a cloth. A man asks a cook if he [scatological term deleted] in the soup bowls, insulting his chili. A man vomits onto the deck of a submarine chamber upon awakening and we see yellow vomit as we hear loud retching.

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LANGUAGE 10 - About 98 F-words and its derivatives, 22 scatological terms, 5 anatomical terms, 9 mild obscenities, name-calling (virgin, idiot, stupid, filthy, lying, whores, boy, [anatomical term deleted]-sucker, toilet in a bowl [food], Gordon Ramsey), stereotypical references to men, women, teen boys, the rich, the poor, unethical corporations, the British, the Scottish, Russians, American Southerners, laid off workers, company agents, exclamations (shut-up), 2 religious profanities (GD), 7 religious exclamations (e.g. Oh My God, Jesus Christ, Jesus, and one silent prayer).

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SUBSTANCE USE - A man tells friends that doctors gave him antidepressant pills that he takes to feel better about unemployment, we hear that a man committed suicide with pills because of a layoff and financial problems, and a man takes a pill from an amber bottle and swallows it for pain relief. A man drinks alcohol from a flask, and four men sit at a table in a pub and drink short glasses of whiskey. A man lights and smokes a cigarette on a sidewalk, as well as in a car and in the belly of a submarine and in a shipyard.

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DISCUSSION TOPICS - Layoffs, unemployment, outdated submarines, Nazi treasures, crooked corporations, perceived enemies, manipulation, paranoia, danger, money, greed, power, survival, family, making choices.
MESSAGE - Greed are is often as powerful as fear.
CAVEATS

Be aware that while we do our best to avoid spoilers it is impossible to disguise all details and some may reveal crucial plot elements.

We've gone through several editorial changes since we started covering films in 1992 and older reviews are not as complete & accurate as recent ones; we plan to revisit and correct older reviews as resources and time permits.

Our ratings and reviews are based on the theatrically-released versions of films; on video there are often Unrated, Special, Director's Cut or Extended versions, (usually accurately labelled but sometimes mislabeled) released that contain additional content, which we did not review.



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