Re-Boot

U-571 brings back the submarine movie with a vengeance

It's McConaughey's movie to carry, and while he may seem lightweight at first, he rises to the challenge, taking Tyler from "trademarked McConaughey pretty boy" (A Time to Kill) all the way up to the edge of "trademarked McConaughey bug-eyed psycho" (Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Next Generation). It has been remarked upon before, but McConaughey really is like a more leading-man-ready version of Woody Harrelson. The fact that his performance here is never played for laughs is a testament to that fact. Keitel doesn't look quite right in his role, but after a while that doesn't matter much. He's Harvey Keitel, after all.

Sub story: Clockwise from top, Matthew McConaughey, Thomas Guiry, Will Estes and T.C. Carson in U-571.
Mario Tursi
Sub story: Clockwise from top, Matthew McConaughey, Thomas Guiry, Will Estes and T.C. Carson in U-571.

Mostow's direction throughout is solid, and he proves very adept at creating tension. He only falters a little during the scene in which the Americans first take control of the German submarine. Combine the fast editing with a whole bunch of men wearing more or less the same thing in the driving rain, and the presence of a cast of mainly generic faces, and it adds up to a whole mess of confusion. Maybe that was the intent, but it would be more satisfying to be able to follow the characters through the conflict with greater ease. One character appeared to me to be shot and killed on three different occasions, only to show up without wounds afterward. Eliminating the driving rain might have clarified things. I know it's dramatic and all that, but leave the climactic downpours to Tony Scott next time.

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