When director Jonathon Mostow (Breakdown) embarked on the submarine action drama U-571, he knew comparisons to similar films such as Das Boot were inevitable. Not only did he expect them, but he also welcomed them, given that he admired the classic film and based part of his research on it. In comparison, most agree that U-571 isn’t quite in the same league, but it doesn’t fall short in delivering a sufficient amount of suspense and action.

After S-33, an American decoy vessel, submerges into the depths of the Atlantic Ocean during World War II, its captain (played by Matthew McConaughey) leads his crew on a risky mission to swipe a decoding device from a stranded German submarine. The so-called Enigma machine was used by the Nazis to transfer coded messages – U.S. capture of any of the machines could be crippling for the enemy. But it’s when the device is confiscated that the mission goes awry and the true action begins, leaving a lucky few of the special-mission crew alive to get themselves and the Enigma away from German forces.

While the plot takes many twists and turns managing to keep audiences on the edge of their seats, the subplot – consisting of McConaughey’s character having to prove his toughness for a promotion – sinks amid stilted and contrived dialogue with co-stars Jon Bon Jovi, Harvey Keitel and Bill Paxton. The nominal success of the drama is not in captivating dialogue or stellar performances, but rather is due to solid action sequences consisting of believable maritime scenarios.

For those who appreciate submarine thrillers and feel it’s been way too long since Das Boot and Crimson Tide, consider U-571 for a decent quick fix.

E-mail comments to [email protected].

We welcome readers to submit letters regarding articles and content in Detroit Metro Times. Letters should be a minimum of 150 words, refer to content that has appeared on Detroit Metro Times, and must include the writer's full name, address, and phone number for verification purposes. No attachments will be considered. Writers of letters selected for publication will be notified via email. Letters may be edited and shortened for space.

Email us at [email protected].

Support Local Journalism.
Join the Detroit Metro Times Press Club

Local journalism is information. Information is power. And we believe everyone deserves access to accurate independent coverage of their community and state. Our readers helped us continue this coverage in 2020, and we are so grateful for the support.

Help us keep this coverage going in 2021. Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing membership pledge, your support goes to local-based reporting from our small but mighty team.

Join the Metro Times Press Club for as little as $5 a month.