Time: 120 mins.
Genre: History/Action/Drama/World War II
Won Academy Award for Best Sound Editing. Nomination for Best Sound.
Despite the stereotype, I, unlike most women, go to the movies, on occassion, to see things get blown up. I'm also equally intrigued by World War II, probably because I didn't live through it, so U-571 seemed to be the perfect movie for me. Lots of explosions, a covert mission to stop pure evil, what could be better? Well, this movie for starters. The plot can be described in a sentence. It runs as deep as a wading pool. The only reason it works at all is because of the idea's inherent danger. US Navy seaman capture a German U-Boat to steal an Enigma machine which will allow the Allies to finally break the German secret code and gain the upper hand in the war on the water. The enigma machine, which looks like a typewriter, is treated like the Holy Grail, and in a way it was, but it still doesn't seem worth all the bloodshed. However, trap your heroes on a rickety submarine in enemy waters and you've got tension. Of course, submarines give most people the creeps, due to the many things that could go wrong and kill you. Especially drowning. Not the best way to go.
That fact keeps you on the edge of your seat. You know they're going to make it at least some of them but it doesn't matter. Just the idea of them potentially drowning is enough to keep you praying the ship holds together. You pray for this more for your own peace of mind then out of concern for any of the characters, because they never really make any of them real. They're all so interchangable you don't feel much of anything when they die. Believe me, I cry at commercials and this film didn't even elicite a sniffle out of me. The only people who stand out are McConaughey because he's the star, Keitel because he's old, Carson because he's black and Palladino because he's annoying. Everyone else, just kind of blends together. Not a good thing when we're supposed to care whether they live or die. Paxton and Bon Jovi, two of the name stars in the film, have such tiny parts the only reason they got top billing is because of their agents. Hell, if you blink, you'll miss Bon Jovi, which may be a good thing as far as some people are concerned, but I can't see why he bothered to show up for work. He was supposed to be McConaughey's best buddy, but you'd never know it because you don't learn anything about anybody. They don't even bother to stereotype them, which is usually the bargain basement of character development.