Matthew McConaughey plays Lt. Andrew Tyler. Apparently he was supposed to be commander of his own sub, but because of a lack of recommendation from his superior officer Captain Dahlgren (Bill Paxton), he will not get his own sub. It's at this point that you can tell that dialogue was not taken into consideration a lot in this script. We get the old "you need to have the heart to do something you don't want to do" speech that I've heard before. Which means of course that this exact thing will come into play later on in the film, and something bad is going to happen to someone we're supposed to care about. Anyway, they get informed that they are going on a secret mission. A Nazi U-boat is stranded at sea, and the Americans are supposed to head out to the sub before the Germans get there, and steal an important German encoding machine known as the "Enigma". With this machine the Allies will be able to intercept and understand German secret messages. However, at the end of the movie you find out something that had you known it before seeing the movie, may have slightly changed your opinion of what they were doing, and how important it really was. Anyway, it's not giving away too much to say that when they arrive at the U-boat, things go very wrong. The Americans end up on the U-boat, and need to find a way to save themselves before the Germans find out what happened.
Along with McConaughey and Paxton, Harvey Keitel and Jon Bon Jovi also star in this film. I generally am not a big fan of Harvey Keitel, but I didn't hate him in this movie. Most people probably won't even recognize Bon Jovi in the movie, but he did a good job. Overall the acting was very good in this movie. Now I have never seen the highly acclaimed film Das Boot but I understand that it's the benchmark for claustrophobic submarine films. I can say that U-571 accomplished the same goal. I felt like I was trapped inside that sub right along with the actors. It makes for a very disturbing and scary feeling while you're watching. Every time there was an explosion, I swear I could feel it in my seat (which may be more of the sound in the theater than anything else). The director, Jonathan Mostow, did a very good job of making you feel like you were part of the action. The camera movements were very first person NYPD Blue-ish with a lot of shaking cameras and close up of the sweat on the faces of the actors. I thought that some of the scenes were very tense which was exactly how you were supposed to feel.
So I guess the biggest problem I had was with the plot. Yes I realize that getting the "Enigma" was important, but that occurred early on, and it then became a fight for survival. But I got lost trying to figure out where exactly there were, and how much danger they were actually in. At one point they say they're headed straight for Nazi waters, and then all of a sudden the movie ends. And early on they say they can't destroy the Nazi ship that's headed towards them, then all of a sudden they think they can. Weapons seemed to come from nowhere on the ship. I felt there were a few too many holes in the story to make this a truly great film.
Overall I thought for what it was, a guy film, it was good. If you like war movies, if you like guy films with a lot of action, a lot of sweat, a lot of yelling, and a lot of explosions, I think you'll like U-571.
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2-sided original poster
DVD - $20.99
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