The One Where I First Realized That There Might Be More To Matthew McConaughey Than I'd Thought

It's also the one where I realized that there might be more to Jonathan Mostow than I'd thought. But I was wrong about that second one.

It's U-571, it's streaming on NETFLIX INSTANT, and it's pretty much made for me, because I love WWII movies and I love submarine movies and this one's both. (There's something about the claustrophobia that fascinates me in a film, because it's both a huge challenge to the filmmakers and the very essence of what they're capturing. So the various ways they decide to tackle it are always interesting to me.)

Unlike another, more famous combination of the submarine and WWII genres, Wolfgang Petersen's devastating and masterful Das Boot, this one's not a great film. But the cast is a lot of fun to watch (especially Keitel, Kretschmann, and McConaughey), and Mostow (and his DP, Oliver Wood) do a great job of capturing the suffocating closeness of the setting. Yes, the story is a trifle predictable, and as one might expect/fear, hews not particularly closely -- or at all -- to its historical inspirations. But if you can see your way past that without being too troubled, it's a fun, depth-charge-laden ride. (Just look up the Enigma captures when you're done. That stuff's insane.)

It's 1942 and the Nazis are winning the war at sea, thanks to the Enigma encoding device that makes the German ciphering system unbreakable.
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