Thursday, 11 December 2014


A serviceable thriller, in that it is expertly executed within a solid, effective narrative framework, but what is Black Sea in service of? As a response to the demands placed on modern society, the film, which is written by Dennis Kelly, has its heart in the right place, or so it evidently believes. It's a correct response, if one takes a view of society as restricted as the narrow tube of a periscope will allow. Put simply, Black Sea is the lament of the first-world, second-class citizen male on his own inadequacies, a sorrowful whimper on the diminished role of the man in said modern society. What Kelly's screenplay doesn't articulate is the fact that these desperate men are only desperate for the very things that have rendered them so inadequate: money and women. The body count rises, as it is prone to do in submarine-set films, and one can hardly complain. Anyway, as Kevin MacDonald's film works its gradual way through the staples of such confinement thrillers, whereby the gamut of potential trials and obstacles is run in full, with the human company steadily decreasing, it develops into a fairly exciting experience. There's nothing tremendously artistic about what MacDonald does here - as I wrote, Black Sea is only a serviceable thriller - but his work is thorough, and he's intelligent enough to ensure that every move he makes on the course to completion is watertight. Technically, the film is exemplary, with even its constituent parts contributing toward ensuring the success of its atmospheric and narrative requirements. What a shame that such smart craftsmanship has gone into creating such a morally dodgy film.