Jürgen Prochnow, Herbert Grönemeyer, Klaus Wennemann, Hubertus Bengsch, Martin Semmelrogge
The claustrophobic world of a WWII German U-boat; boredom, filth, and sheer terror.
My Review: Das Boot - 1981 (Adventure, drama, thriller) Of course I own, and watched the director’s cut. I can’t believe that I’ve owned this movie since the 80s, and I’m just now (2016) writing a movie review about it. One of my all-time favorite movies, and one of the reasons why I own seven movies starring Jürgen Prochnow. Written and directed by Wolfgang Petersen (the NeverEnding Story, Enemy Mine, Shattered, In the Line of Fire, Outbreak, Air Force One, The Perfect Storm, Troy) this movie is based upon a novel by Lothar G. Buchheim. Starring Jürgen Prochnow, Herbert Grönemeyer, Klaus Wennemann and many others. This is (imo) the best submarine movie ever made. Far better than U-571, Hunt For Red October, Run Silent Run Deep, The Enemy Below, Crimson Tide, Below. Admittedly, I haven’t seen every submarine movie ever made, but this one tops many lists (including mine). Set in 1942, the German submarine fleet is fully engaged in the ‘Battle of the Atlantic’. Sinking as many ships as they can, they’ve also started to take heavier losses due to the recent increase in convoy escorts with heavier caliber guns. This is the story of U-96 and its crew. The crew is professional, well disciplined and their morale is high. These sailors know what they’re doing, why they’re doing it, and what the consequences are. This movie is more than a single tale, it’s a historical document, a period film, an epic film filled with many military and political themes. It explores many of the grand themes of war on a macroscopic scale. All these larger themes are crammed into the confines of a long slender metal tube, navigating the dark cold waters of the North Atlantic - In search of prey, evading hunters. Jürgen Prochnow is perfectly cast as the captain of this boat, and his expressions and mood haunt the movie like a drowned man haunts the place where the ice gave way. The movie begins slowly in the shallows, but tension soon begins to build as the crew sets out into deeper waters. The mission is clear, the consequences dire and the danger great. In mission after mission, the tension grows, the suspense builds, you’re gripping your seat - True terror is just minutes away as the depth charges continue to rain down, and the seafloor rises up like your certain and inescapable fate. The brave members of this sub are made helpless under the crushing weight of the sea, their clueless leaders and the ultimate futility of their nation’s destiny. The story feels so real. It feels like we’re watching a live event. The emotions rise quickly to the surface and you can’t help but feel everything they feel. By the end of the movie, you are one of the crew. You feel for them as if the outcome affects you personally. Perfect writing, perfect direction, perfect acting, truly amazing cinematography and no cgi! I give Das Boat a 5 out of 5. Do yourself a favor. Watch this very long movie (the Director’s cut is 209 minutes) with subtitles. The emotional cues and timing nuances are much stronger in the native language.