Tuesday, March 4, 2014

670. Das Boot/The Boat (1981)

Running Time: 209 minutes
Directed By: Wolfgang Petersen
Written By: Wolfgang Petersen, from novel by Lothar G. Buchheim
Main Cast: Jurgen Prochnow, Herbert Gronemeyer, Klaus Wennemann, Hubertus Bengsch, Martin Semmelrogge
Click here to view the trailer


Show of hands - who had me not liking this one in the pool? Because if you didn't, then you don't know me at all, do you? Seriously though, I was actually looking forward to this one, having heard it's title mentioned in serious film circles for decades now and never ever seeing it until yesterday.

The plot? Well, it's pretty simple. A crew of German soldiers, during World War II, set out from port La Rochelle, in their submarine a.k.a. U-boat, in search of Allied submarines. We're told beforehand that Allied subs are actually becoming more common and more powerful and that the German U-boats, originally thought to be unsinkable, are being tanked by the Allied forces. Anyway, the Captain is Jurgen Prochnow (whom you may know from "Beverly Hills Cop II") and after being at sea for several weeks the entire crew bears. We see everything from the point of view of Lt. Werner, the gangs' war correspondent. At first, the crew sees absolutely no action and their biggest adversary is the weather. Of course, that doesn't last long, as they later encounter some Allied boats and are forced into the thick of war. The whole theme of the film seems to be panic in a claustrophobic setting, as dirty, dingy spaces are crawling with frightened men. The suspense is turned up high, however, most of it was lost on me, as I just couldn't ease into this one - at all.

I mean, that's really it guys - it's about a crew on a boat, end of story. It took all of an hour for me to decide that this wasn't the film for me, which made the next two hours and change kind of hard to sit through. However, thems the breaks when working your way through the "1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die" book and I'm used to it. As it is, I sat patiently through the rest of the film, trying keep my concentration, but my mind wandering easily. I think we've established that I really dislike most war films, but I thought this one would be different somehow. It wasn't. I hate to throw the word boring around when referring to films (as I tend to prefer more in-depth analysis), but DAMN, this was straight up boring and there's no other word for it. I know a lot of you were probably pulled to the edge of your seat, because it wasn't hard for me to acknowledge the suspenseful element. However, it did nothing for me. Therefore, what may be sheer excitement and terror to you, was a boring, overly long mess for me. And yes, it was WAY too long and that wasn't helped by the fact that I had the director's cut, which clocked in at over 200 minutes. Ay ay ay!

So, yeah, mark this one down as a huge disappointment and call it a review. I tried, despite wandering mind, but it just wasn't my type of flick. I don't do military jargon, naval jargon or anything of the sort. Had it been a lot shorter (I'm talking like two hours even) then maybe it would have had a chance at winning me over, but it wasn't. End of story, end of review.

RATING: 3/10  I'll give it a few points for some high suspense, all good performances and the claustrophobic atmosphere, but all in all a HUGE miss.


March 4, 2014  4:01pm


  1. I don't think we deserve many points for expecting a big thumbs down for this one from you. A bit like seeing an upcoming Rom-com musical with John Wayne and Jenifer Aniston in it* .. and going 'I wonder if Ray will like it'
    You wrote the review in a way that I sort of suspected there was a big 'but' about to pop up.. but it didn't. no great surprise.
    So lets go straight to the point that we have our first major difference of opinion in a while. And I even did the directors cut.
    I found it powerful, gripping and entertaining. Sorry...

    Oh, I can FULLY understand anyone NOT liking it.. it is long.. claustrophobic.. and there is just the odd swear word or two. And yes Andrew, it's another war movie..
    Oh well...

    * A decidedly weird concept that is still boggling the mind.

    1. Well we made it through what? 12 movies without a disagreement? That's not too bad. Perhaps a record for us?


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