Published on August 8th, 2007 | by Chris1
Crimson Tide (1995)
While it's true that '95 was a bit late to be making US vs. Russia Nuclear Missile Scare Movies(tm), Crimson Tide pulls it off in a big way. I have to admit, I hadn't watched this movie in several years, and quite frankly forgot just how good it really is.
The film's story really isn't a new one, having been played out in other movies such as "The Enemy Below" (which gets referred to in this film early on, nice touch!) The tale of impending nuclear destruction and the moral dilemmas that must preoccupy the people responsible for executing such orders.
Rookie Executive Office Lt. Cmdr. Hunter (Denzel Washington) goes up against the battle hardened Captain Ramsey (Gene Hackman) of the submarine USS Alabama with the itchy trigger finger. They've been given orders to launch a nuclear strike, but later receive a partial message which neither confirms or retracts those orders. Taking the moral high ground, unwilling to lauch the strike without confirmation, Hunter takes the ship from Ramsey.
All the while they're being hunted by what is presumably a Russian attack sub, and pull through that battle in the midst of the internal conflict. Not before suffering some severe damage and causing Hunter to have to make some difficult choices.
Ramsey, however, is not content to have his command subverted, and stages yet another takeover, and finally the issue is resolved for the better.
What makes this film shine is the chemistry and tension between Washington and Hackman. These guys are top-notch actors, and manage to create an atmosphere of conflict so thick you could cut it with a knife. Their conflict between executing the orders given "as is" and interpreting those orders correctly in such a situation is really what drives this picture.
The direction (Tony Scott) is stellar, also, and really makes you feel the close-quarters cramped nature of submarine life. I don't think there were many shots that didn't make you feel like you were right in the characters' faces.
Admittedly there is a lot of submarine mechanics which sort of get in the way, like the constant repetition of orders into the handsets, sometimes three and four times. Hey, this is a submarine movie! You have to expect things like that.
The external sub shots during the battle with the Akula class sub really aren't the best examples of special effects, either. While it may reflect what it might actually look like, it doesn't translate well on camera. Either that or not much attention was paid to these scenes during production.
Crimson Tide is rated R for numerous f-bombs and other language, and I really can't say any more than that! I really enjoyed rediscovering this picture!
Crimson Tide (Unrated Extended Edition)
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A stellar cast including Academy Award(R) winner Denzel Washington (2001 Best Actor, TRAINING DAY), Gene Hackman (1971 Academy Award(R) Winner, Best Actor, THE FRENCH CONNECTION; ENEMY OF THE STATE), Viggo Mortensen (THE LORD OF THE RINGS trilogy), and James Gandolfini (TV's THE SOPRANOS) resurfaces in a greater-than-ever Extended Edition of this intense hit thriller...
DVD InformationBinding: DVD
Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
Audience Rating: R (Restricted)
Brand: Buena Vista Home Video
Manufacturer: Buena Vista Home Entertainment / Hollywood Pictures
Original Release Date:
- Denzel Washington
- Gene Hackman
- George Dzundza
- Viggo Mortensen
- James Gandolfini
- Factory sealed DVD
Summary: While it's true that '95 was a bit late to be making US vs. Russia Nuclear Missile Scare Movies(tm), Crimson Tide pulls it off in a big way. I have to admit, I hadn't watched this movie in several years, and quite frankly forgot just how good it really is.