“Black Sea” is a submarine pressure cooker yarn that adds a few new twists to the nail-biting genre.

It starts out with Captain Robinson (Jude Law) being laid off from his job as a maritime salvage expert. Suddenly, he goes from being a skipper to being a guy at the pub bemoaning his future.

But then an old friend tells him about a boat that was sunk in the Black Sea during World War II while transporting millions of dollars in gold. A shady financier named Daniels (Scoot McNairy) arranges a meeting with a money man and, suddenly, Robinson is leading a treasure hunt.

The plan is to buy an old submarine and man it with a spare crew that’s equal parts British and Soviet. Then the sub will dive beneath the Soviet naval fleet, find the sunken boat, and divers will bring the money aboard the sub. Everybody goes home a millionaire.

Some problems become apparent as soon as the sub goes underwater. First off, the Russians and the Brits don’t exactly get along and most of them can’t communicate with one another. The lead diver (Ben Mendelsohn) seems unhinged, Daniels is an obvious weasel and the Russians seem intent on driving a novice Brit cabin boy (Bobby Schofield) to suicide.

There’s a logic to that suicide push that soon pervades the sub; fewer people makes for bigger cuts of the loot.

As with most submarine stories, things go wrong and then get worse. And worse. Eventually most everyone suspects everyone else of something nefarious and Robinson is struggling just to keep people alive.

But the gold never loses its appeal. In the end, “Black Sea” is a taut warning about the evil allure of greed. It also makes clear why vacationing on submarines has never caught on.

‘Black Sea’


Rated R for language throughout, some graphic images and violence

Running time: 115 minutes

“Black Sea” (R ) Jude Law leads a submarine crew made up of testy Soviets and Brits on a treasure hunt for Nazi gold. Some nice twists on the submarine pressure cooker genre. (115 minutes) GRADE: B

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