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U 571  

Lt. Andrew Tyler (Matthew McConaughey)
Lt. Commander Mike Dahlgren (Bill Paxton)
Chief Klough (Harvey Keitel)
Lt. Pete Emmett (Jon Bon Jovi)
Marine Major Coonan (David Keith)

Directed by Jonathan Mostow Written by Jonathan Mostow, Sam Montgomery and David Ayer
Rated PG-13 for war violence and language Running Time: 120 minutes Distributed by Universal

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U-571 is a tension filled war thriller about heroism. Lt. Commander Mike Dahlgren (Paxton) skippers the S-33, a vintage U.S. WWII submarine that is older than most of the sub's crew. The commander and his XO, Lt. Andrew Tyler (McConaughey), have just been given a top-secret mission that's plan is sort of like the Trojan horse of Greek mythology. The S-33 has orders to be rigged to resemble a U-boat, which is the Nazi submarine. The Americans are to pose as Germans to capture the Engima machine from a stranded German U-boat in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean. The Engima machine is a secret coding device that could help the Americans win the war. Following a unexpected turn of events, a group of Americans sailors become trapped in the enemy U-boat, deep in hostile waters and a disadvantage as to how to operate the German U-boat. The destiny of nine ordinary men, as well as the fate of their mission will ultimately depend on their instincts and a battle against their own fears.

U-571 is a submarine movie that has some dry moments, but overall the film is pretty enjoyable.

Jonathan Mostow co-wrote and directed U-571. Mostow's only previous movie credit is 1997's Breakdown. Mostow brings a brilliant vision to this film. The scenes that take place inside the U-boat seemed very realistic. An example of this realism is that all the actors continued to sweat and show fear the whole time that they are in the U-boat. Mostow also does an admirable job blending steady drama with explosive action. An example is with the device called splashes in the film. Splashes were the German weapon used to destroy submarines under water during WWII. The splashes look like a normal barrel, that is set by a timer to explode at a certain depth in water. The best moment in the film is when the Germans begin sending dozens of splashes after the Americans. With the explosions of the splashes getting closer and closer, the audience sees the fear in the American sailors' eyes. In a psychological and abstract way, this scene reminded me of the moment in Jurassic Park when you only hear the rumble of the T-Rex as it comes closer to the characters during a thunder storm. For the rest of the scenes in the film, some of them are the same ideas that were used in Crimson Tide and other submarine movies.

Matthew McConaughey continues to show that he has what it takes to be a big movie star with his role as Lt. Andrew Tyler. McConaughey is a fine actor that I can see in a variety of different roles. I hope that directors cast him in more action lead roles, instead of casting somebody like Keanu Reeves. Harvey Keitel once again gives another strong supporting performance as the chief of the boat. Though this is not one of Keitel's best performances, he is still a fabulous actor. He always takes risky and in depth roles, the incredible thing is that Keitel makes acting look easy. However, his role in U-571 is closer to an average person than his previous roles. Bill Paxton and Jon Bon Jovi also give contributable supporting performances in U-571.

U-571 is a summer (popcorn) movie that got a release date in April. The film has a lot of action, but it is a story about bravery and heroism. The film does take a lot of the same cliches that were used in Crimson Tide and Das Boot, but I still recommend U-571. Watch for this film to make a lot of money at the box office.

Report Card Grade: B-

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