Jude Law (Robinson) stars as a submarine captain who has lost his family to his work voyages and now has also lost his job. With a less then favourable severance package, the former Navy man Robinson gambles it all with a group of beaten down seamen on a quest for a sunken submarine which could solve all their miseries.
The submarine crew of half Russian and half English are backed by a private investor and accompanied by his American counterpart. This is where the drama ensues as the language barrier and cultural differences cause division, while the lust of personal wealth leads people to realise that each dead crewman equals more gold for themselves. "Black Sea" has all the clichés: greed, division, murder and even a possible mutiny but what sets it apart is the ability to build a claustrophobic intensity with a real feeling attached.
"Black Sea" creates such a tense setting; you are made anxious to witness what happens next. Regardless to say, visually an underwater venture doesn't lend too much beauty but Macdonald has done just that with the black sea as his backdrop. Complimenting this is the use of a real 1967-vintage Soviet submarine owned by a private collector and used for a majority of the filming.
The only real letdown for me with "Black Sea" comes with the character building. A majority of the characters lack real depth or backstory and fulfill the typical stereotypes of these genres. The Russians are rough, scruffy and grim, while the British are too busy complaining about their misfortunes. "Black Sea" does have a gem though as Jude Law delivers a compelling performance that gives more to the story then the plot commands. Though, regardless of its shortcomings the constant barrages of "what else could go wrong" will keep you too involved to critique.
"Black Sea" will keep you submerged in its suspense and entertained in its thrilling encounter of human desire vs. human survival.
In cinemas April 9.