Monday, April 23, 2012

Movie of the Week – Das Boot

This week’s movie is Das Boot (1981).

The WWII drama is about a German U-boat and its crew during the battle for control of the Atlantic. It is written and directed by Wolfgang Petersen (who went on to make some successful action and fantasy films in Hollywood like The NeverEnding Story, In the Line of Fire, Air Force One, and Troy). Klaus Doldinger provides a good score (though it is very European 1980s in style, but awesome when put against the sub sailing against the waves – here is a clip). Jost Vacano’s cinematography is excellent, capturing the claustrophobic feel well (Petersen and Vacano shot all the interiors of the sub inside the complete model as to create a realistic cramped feel). Rolf Zehetbauer’s production design is top notch as well (the sub interior looks great and has a lot of character). It stars Jurgen Prochnow (who many will recognize as the villain of Beverly Hills Cop II), and features Herbert Gronemeyer, Klaus Wennemann and Otto Sander in support. The director’s cut (the version you should watch) is 209 minutes, and yet every moment of the film is highly engaging and utterly gripping. There is a ton of tension throughout, so much so that the film is a little draining. Upon its original release, many feared it would not be well received portraying German naval soldiers during WWII (often villains) as the heroes of their story (and thereby sympathetic). The audience does bond with (and even like) these wonderfully drawn characters. As a huge fan of films about WWII and its era, I can say that this is one of the best. It is a must-see for fans of war dramas and cinema fans alike. Check out the trailer.

Available on Blu-ray and DVD

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