5.0 out of 5 stars A GREAT old-school Hollywood war movie!!!!
Folks, this film is a throwback to the old days of Hollywood war movies, back to the days when movies featured likeable characters whom the audience can easily relate to, put through well-scripted and well-plotted adventures to resolve a plot, show some character growth and generally entertain. In other words, it has none of the things that define most modern action and...
Published on Jan. 18 2004
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars THE WORST
This movie attempts to present itself as an historically based submarine adventure. Unfortunately, it is grossly inaccurate historically, to the point of being insulting;especially to the Brits. They seized an enigma device before we even entered the war. The submarine warfare is so over the top it's absurd. If you want to see crazy stunts and over the top action I'd...
Published on June 20 2003
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars THE WORST,
By A Customer
This movie attempts to present itself as an historically based submarine adventure. Unfortunately, it is grossly inaccurate historically, to the point of being insulting;especially to the Brits. They seized an enigma device before we even entered the war. The submarine warfare is so over the top it's absurd. If you want to see crazy stunts and over the top action I'd recommend a good Bond film. If you want to see a great WW2 submarine flick, see Das Boot. Forget about this turkey.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Short and bitter,
In a nutshell; I will have to reinforce the comments of several previous reviewers. The film combined significant historical inaccuracy with a series of very clumsy rip offs of the dramatic high points of the film Das Boot. Viewing the original requires a three hour time commitment, but it is truly one of the best action/suspense flicks ever made. Watching this one consisted of boredom interspersed with moments of despair involving the poorly done "cut and paste" plagiarism.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Run in the opposite direction! Please!,
I think the title of this review says it all. I lost count of the historical inaccuracies after the first ten minutes! Of course, the Germans were the brutal bunglers who cheated on zeir frauleins und vipped zeir dachsunds! No really, steer well clear of this disaster. If you wish to view a TRUE account of the Battle of the Atlantic as the sailors saw it, watch "Das Boot: The Director's Cut"...or better still, the unabridged version of the same movie.
5.0 out of 5 stars A GREAT old-school Hollywood war movie!!!!,
By A Customer
Folks, this film is a throwback to the old days of Hollywood war movies, back to the days when movies featured likeable characters whom the audience can easily relate to, put through well-scripted and well-plotted adventures to resolve a plot, show some character growth and generally entertain. In other words, it has none of the things that define most modern action and adventure movies. The heroes are not as bad as the villains. There's no sex. The characters do not remain static throughout. And most of all, this is not a normal modern adventure movie because you can actually follow a sensible plotline.
During WW2, there were captures of two full enigma machines and two other captures of engima variants. The first was by the Brits before the US entered the war. After that point, the US and the Brits each captured another machine. This movie is the story of a fictional FIFTH enigma capture, borrowing elements of the two most important real-life captures: the British capture of U-110 and the US capture of U-505.
The film took lumps for not being "realistic", but considering that the technical advisor was actually ON the HMS Bulldog when it capture U-110, it's hard to disagree with the technical accuracy.
Historical accuracy? People who harp about that discredit their opionions just by making such a claim. This is an adventure movie, after all. It wasn't made for the history channel. It uses a fictional fifth enigma seizure as a way to pay homage to all FOUR real-life captures, as the end scroll plainly states (the same end scroll with explicitly gives the Brits credit for the first capture in 1940).
Look at it this way if you can't stand seeing something in a movie that didn't happen in real life. U-571 is no less realistic a war movie than Hill Street Blues was a cop show. Both have the technical details down perfect and show exactly what it was like. Yet, there was never an actual U-571 capture, just as there isn't really a Hill Street police station. That's the beauty and the power of fiction.
2.0 out of 5 stars Okay, I guess,
By A Customer
First off, as a US Vietnam Vet I'd like to apologize to our British cousins for the audacity of Hollywood in pretending that the US captured the first enigma device in WWII.
But then after seeing an episode of the series "MI-5" on A&E I'd like to withdraw 1/3 of the apology. Hollywood, by no means, has a corner on producing jingoistic claptrap. Another 1/3 of the apology gets withdrawn because of decades of the gutter-crawling British press blaming the US for everything wrong in the world from global warming (whoops, doesn't exist) to tooth decay. And the final 1/3 gets withdrawn after seeing Hollywood movies like "Gunga Din" and "King of the Khyber Rifles" that depict the British Army, along with the East India Company, as benefactors of India and Afghanistan. I won't even try to get into the British opium trade in China vs the fantasy special "55 Days in Peking". So let's stop the finger pointing. Glass houses and all that, y'know, old chaps.
As for U-571.
I found too much of the movie to be irritating. If you've ever been on a WWII-era submarine you'd know just how claustrophobic those boats were. Naturally the constraints of movie making make it impossible to build an accurate set and still film in it. However the cavernous interior of U-571 was laughable. I mean you could have run laps in the control room.
And then the depiction of the Exec was ridiculous. The US Navy in WWII was run by professionals. Any officer has been through at least OCS and one of the most important things taught is the importance of the mission and the possible necessity of ordering men to near certain death. There were no submarine service execs who weren't fully qualified officers with sufficient experience. Any officer who was as easy going as the one McConaughey depicts would never have made exec in the first place. Even if he were soft he would still know basic facts of command.
There were no black Americans serving on submarines in WWII. Leave it to the rampant PCism of Hollywood to require the token black... even when to do so is ludicrously inaccurate. Seeing how nuts Hollywood has gone in PCism lately we should consider oureselves fortunate that there isn't a woman crewmember aboard.
Generally the movie is entertaining, though it mainly uses well-worn plot devices. What can you do besides have mechanical problems, run low on breathable air, run low on battery charge and get depth-charged?
1.0 out of 5 stars Horrible and Insulting,
By A Customer
U-571 movie is an complete and utter insult to the British who fought and died in WW2. The historical innacuracies are everywhere. A big one is that the Brits captured the Enigma decoder machine, not the Americans (we weren't even in the war yet!). Why does Hollywood sometimes feel the need to rewrite history? I find it funny how most Americans give this movie high ratings, but most people outside the US rate it low. Are we (US) that stupid? Maybe Americans just don't give a hoot about how history is portrayed in movies as long as we are the clean-cut heroes who win in the end and take credit for everything. People say that this is only fiction and harmless. But I say that it is based on specific historical facts- which got totally twisted and distorted. Hollywood can make great historically accurate war movies when they really want to. This movie is total embarrasment and I appologize to all of the Brits for this insulting, inaccurate, [weak] movie. If this movie and the new Pearle Harbor are the sign of things to come, I think we are in trouble. Buy Das Boot. One of the best and historically accurate war movies ever made.
4.0 out of 5 stars Great modern-WWII story - w/word to UK critics,
In "U-571", an untested USN officer named Tyler (Mcaunaghey) leads the green crew of an obsolete USN submarine on a daring, top-sectret mission of modern piracy against a crippled Nazi U-Boat. It's 1942, dark days for the allies everywhere, and especially in the battle of the north Atlantic. Freighters steal across the Atlantic in convoys, desperate to get their needed cargo to Europe to shore up the western front against Germany. German sailors in U-boats hunt the convoys down in organized wolfpacks. In a desperate battle for both sides, the Germans lost about 30,000 men, but came close to cutting the Atlantic off. In the beginning of the flick, allied intelligence picks up the U-571's distress call, the having barely survived a crushing depth charge attack. Quickly realizing they've got a chance to grab the sub and its sensitive equipment intact, Washington hits upon a plan of modern-day piracy. They commandeer a tired "S-Boat" - an American submarine already obsolete before WWII - to rendezvous with U-571 under the disguise of rescuing German sub. The S-boat's inadequacies are painful, but her small size makes her a convincing stand-in for U-571's sister ship. Washington cares less about U-571 than its "Enigma" - an early generation of calculator used by the Kriegsmarine to decode/encode messages to and from its warships. By capturing an Enigma, the allies hope to break the German codes and learn to navigate its ships around the Nazi subs which, stealth aside, are slow and very vulnerable. Fooling the Germans at first, the initial operation comes off flawlessly - and our boys capture both Nazi-sub and enigma in one of those otherwise bloodless operations we've seen in countless war movies. But that's only a set-up for when the plan goes bad: U-571's actual sister-sub appears, torpedoes and all, and U-571 becomes the kind of movie we haven't seen that much of. With their own sub sent to the bottom, Tyler and the rest of his crew must save U-571, learn the secret of driving the foreign sub and sail her across the Atlantic. Tyler is a whiz at subs, but he's unproven. Instead, he relies on Chief Klough (Harvey Keitel) to explain what "Sub School" could not. After narrowly defeating U-571's sister-sub, Tyler and his crew settle on the slightly less impossible of two plans - sail for England, getting as close as possible without being sighted...by anybody. (Should the Germans learn of U-571's capture, they will certainly modify both Enigmas and their codes, and Tyler's efforts will have been in vain.) Discovery is less likely in an eastward course, even though it means braving waters swimming with U-boats. By the end of the flick, Tyler will have barely survived a game of "cat and mouse" with a German destroyer, and a near Mutiny with his own crew.
This flick took a lot of lumps for realism stretches, though most deserve qualification. The film entirely omits any mention of England's recovery of an Enigma machine in 1941, years before we Yanks. Simply ignoring history is bad, but it doesn't make the story as implausible as "U-571"'s many British critics would insist. Given how tight-lipped the British were on any subject connected to their ability to read German codes, it's entirely possible that too few American planners in '42 would have known enough about England's possession of Enigma to declare Tyler's mission unnecessary (England declined to declassify their work on Enigma after the war's end, keeping the wraps on until the early 1970's). A cursory mention of England's seizure of Enigma does not otherwise correct the historical flaws of the film (the story is still inexplicably bereft of any British characters, and it would have taken little to actually add some to the script). On the flip side, a painfully accurate story obviates a more stinging barb on the Brits - one that both acknowledges that they got Enigma first, but also that they kept their exploits silent even knowing that their allies would risk their own men on near suicidal missions to nab what the British already had. (Can you imagine the howls had "U-571" ended with our heroes turning over their hard-won prize to the RN...only for it to join hordes of similar machines silently amassed by the allies, blind, deaf and dumb to the sacrifices of Tyler's men?) The subject of England's stinginess with anything relating to German cryptography, at the cost of American lives, is discussed overtly in Robert Harris's great novel "Enigma", a novel which Has not been criticized for historical inaccuracy. Further, while critics here think this is another attempt at Hollywood revisionism, it's easy to point out that Hollywood holds no monopoly in that area, as anybody who's ever seen "Breaking the Sound Barrier" can attest - in which we learn that the first man to fly faster than sound was actually a British Pilot flying a DeHavilland fighter. While "Breaking" boldly claimed for England credit for the first manned supersonic flight, 'U-571' at least had the decency to set its story a year after the Brits Enigma recovery.
Taking an unrealistic premise - Tyler and his crew assimilating the incredibly complicated and undeniably foreign ship - "U-571" works in a very realistic way, with the script showing how quick thinking and not a small amount of luck saved the day, and how narrowly Tyler and crew beat the odds. The cinematography goes even further, letting us know that, contrary to what we've seen in "Run Silent, Run Deep" and "Destination Tokyo", Submarines were cramped and dark, leaked water, were very slow, groaned under the pressure of the water above and, when surfaced, dipped and climbed on waves like a tin can. This is probably the only flick since "Das Boot" to convey just how impossible a job it was to fight in subs in WWII. It's no "Das Boot", but "U-571" now makes it impossible to watch any of those quaint and propaganda-laden movies made during the war.
1.0 out of 5 stars Money for old rope,
By A Customer
As a world war 2 buff I was looking forward to watching this movie, especially in the age when film makers are doing much better in obtaining accurate research to provide the best means of providing the audience with authenticity. A modern W.W.II submarine movie should be good!
I was grossly disappointed. This film was slapped together by people who know nothing of submarine warfare and apparently did zero research into the subject. Some of the stunts pulled off by the sub crew and way they survived, over and over again when they should have been blown to bits, was laughable. Okay, so the film makers are entitled to a little flexibility to make for good entertainment, but they went way too far. The visual 'wow factor' rapidly diminished to 'give me a break.'
The film also gave the impression that this was in some way an accurate depiction of the US navy being the first to capture the notorious Enigma coding machine, they weren't, the British already had one and had broken the codes by 1942. In summary, very much a 'B' movie, not recommended.
2.0 out of 5 stars Abandon ship!,
Marine Maj. Coonan: "How far down does this ship go?"
Lt. Commander Mike Dahlgren: "Oh, she'll go all the way to the bottom if we don't stop her."
Well, unfortunately, this entire film goes straight to the bottom. U-571 chronicles a salvage mission where the crew of a U.S. sub attempts to board a disabled German U-boat in the mid-Atlantic. The objective of the mission is to recover the secret Enigma machine which the Nazis use to cipher their messages. In charge of this mission is Lt. Cmdr. Mike Dahlgren (Bill Paxton) and his executive officer Lt. Andrew Tyler (Matthew McConaughey). As with most things in life, matters do not unfold as planned and soon Tyler and a skeleton crew find themselves in the disabled U-boat trying to evade the pursuing Germans. Now as a submarine movie, U-571 must contain all the necessary cliche sequences familiar to this sub-genre: the dropping of depth charges by the enemy, the dramatic moments where members of the crew grovel in terror as underwater explosions just miss their sub, the hushed whispering between the crew, and the periodic mechanical breakdowns that immediately causes everyone to start yelling. Yet even with these assorted cliches in place, U-571 does not rise to the level of an entertaining film because the entire film is just the cliches and nothing else. There are no involving character arcs or surprising twists in the story. While watching this film, you are constantly reminded that Das Boot and The Hunt for Red October were far superior films. Matthew McConaughey gives a great performance but this film is stuck in drydock from the start.
5.0 out of 5 stars A fine story of leadership at sea! A great submarine flick.,
This is a wonderful movie which highlights the leadership growth of a young naval officer suddenly thrust into command under incredibly challenging circumstances. Originally evaluated by his captain as "not ready" for command, Lt. Tyler is faced with a striking array of challenges.
This is a story, primarily, of leadership at sea. We often forget that our fighting men are often asked to do the nearly impossible, as portrayed in this movie. I have seen just about every submarine movie around, and in my opinion this one compares favorably with "The Enemy Below," "Das Boot," "Run Silent Run Deep" and other greats. It is far more watchable than "Das Boot"--U-571 does not have any of the dull, draggy interludes that punctuate "Das Boot" (and most other European movies). The storyline is brisk, the acting is crisp and authentic, and the story grabs you from the very first moments. This is a great movie.
This movie has wonderful sound effects. The visuals are utterly real--the viewer feels transported into an old WW2 vintage submarine, and from this realizes an appreciation for the heroism of the men who fought a war inside these steel tin cans.
Some of our European friends are bitter because this story is about the US Navy mounting a mission to capture a German enigma machine. While it is true that the Brits did more of this than did America (after all, they were in the war longer, and the US Navy had to fight two wars at once) it is also true that the US Navy did capture an enigma machine during the war, through heroism and competence. There is nothing amiss here by virtue of the movie being about Americans.
Put aside your prejudices and enjoy this movie! It is a story of leadership and bravery, not just a "shoot-em-up." Watching Lt. Tyler mature into a superb submarine skipper and gain the respect of his crew is really what this story is about--and a great story it is.
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U-571 by Jonathan Mostow (VHS Tape - 2000)
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