Review of 'Das Boot: The Director's Cut'

das_boot.jpg It is the fall of 1941 and the German submarine fleet are engaged in the “Battle of the Atlantic” to harass and destroy allied shipping in the Atlantic. The battle is not going well for the Germans as the allies are getting better at hunting and destroying the German U-Boots. “Das Boot” follows the crew of “U-96” patrolling the north Atlantic. Captained by Captain-Lieutenant Henrich Lehmann-Willenbrock (Jürgen Prochnow) the young, inexperienced, crew of the submarine spend more time nervously hiding deep in the depths from destroyers then they do attacking and even more time doing absolutely nothing as they move silently below the waves. On this mission they are joined by reporter Lt. Werner (Herbert Grönemeyer) who has been tasked with capturing the greatness of the German navy. With a dwindling number of U-Boats and the war not really going in their favour do not expect a happy ending.

An interesting psychological story about the life aboard a German Submarine during World War II with the various problems and personality conflicts that inevitably arise. The film is amazingly shot and utterly believable, capturing the sheer horror that U-Boot crews must have regularly faced. Here we can feel the closeness of the walls with the crew of 50 people in the tiny ship interior that measured only 50.5 m (165' 8“) by 4.7 m (15' 5”) that housed not simply the people but the massive, noisy diesel engines, food (here seen with the hanging bananas at one point), torpedoes, single toilet, sleeping area, galley…There is no attempt here at all to sugar coat what must have been a terrifying experience. The actors are incredibly believable with frequent extreme close ups examining how they react to the horrifying events of the film.

Great acting, superb cinematography and a great story. One of the best war films of all time that manages to capture the very personal story of a German U-Boat crew.

Rating: “Really good but I have some issues”

Directed by: Wolfgang Petersen

Studio: Columbia Tristar Home Entertainment

Year: 1985

Length: 200 minutes

Genre: Action/Adventure

Other reviewed films by Wolfgang Petersen: