New York Magazine

Nazi Hunting on the High Seas

WELL, been brushing up on their naval jargon. Tom Hanks actually wrote the screenplay for the WWII maritime thriller adapting it from C.S. Forester’s 1955 novel and the film is so packed with commands repeated and nautical terms and naval minutiae that you’d be forgiven for thinking it had been penned by a retired admiral. This is, by and large, a good thing: won’t blow any holes in the solemn ship of state that is modern cinema—it’s a sweet, swift 91 minutes long, and only about 80 if you skip the credits—but it’s a surprisingly immersive) in a quartet of warships escorting a 37-vessel convoy headed to Liverpool. Fighter planes and their flight ranges at the time being what they were, the ships only have air support at the beginning of the trip and at the end; the vast stretch of ocean they cross in between is known as “the Black Pit,” and it’s filled with German U-boats intent on sinking them (and, occasionally, taunting them). Hanks’s Captain Krause has just been given his first solo assignment in charge of a warship, so this is all new to him—but of course, he mustn’t show his doubt or fear.

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