by Kris Katz
Brief spoiler-free entertainment reviews

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Das Boot (1981)

As far as harrowing scenarios go, it's hard to picture worse than being trapped in a metal contraption hundreds of feet below the surface of the ocean with every pipe around you creaking under the pressure, and enemy ships passing by above you determined to see you drown. Try to forget for a moment that his is a film about Germans in World War II; just focus on the human drama on display. The result in unbelievably tense and thoroughly nerve wracking. There is rarely a dull moment in the film, as each passing boat or each life-threatening trial perfectly ups the ante. Being that it is film about the unrelentingly tight quarters of a German U-Boat, the atmosphere of cramped quarters is sold to perfection. If you are claustrophobic, you may want to give this one a pass It may not be perfect, largely thanks to some transparent production whenever the boat surfaces, and an ending that feels either contrived, or bluntly honest, but even with those caveats this film is a masterpiece of total suspense, and a fascinating peek at a nightmare situation for many people.

9 out of 10.

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