Historical inaccuracies notwithstanding, U-571 is excellent in that old-fashioned, paying homage to the classics fashion. If you’re a fan of this well-worn genre, it’s a hard film not to watch when it turns up on cable or one of the HD movie channels. It’s got a fantastic, extremely masculine cast comprising of Matthew McConaughey, Bill Paxton, Harvey Keitel, Jon Bon Jovi, and a host of young hotshots and gruff veterans filling the edges. Confidently directed by journeyman Jonathan Mostow (the terrific Kurt Russell thriller Breakdown, the somewhat ill-advised Terminator 3), the film benefited from a lean screenplay (co-written by Mostow, David Ayer, and Sam Montgomery) that stressed forward moving action with just the right amount of character interplay and human drama. But the filmmakers knew that the star of their modestly scaled but no less thrilling film would be the ship contained in the title, and the numerous action sequences were expertly shot by master cinematographer Oliver Wood (Face/Off, The Bourne Identity) and cut with sharp precision by editor Wayne Wahrman (A Civil Action, I Am Legend). Released in the spring of 2000, the film was a solid box office success and received strong reviews overall, and it’s one of those unpretentious action films that is a perfect rainy Sunday afternoon matinee.


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