WOLFGANG PETERSEN’S DAS BOOT — A REVIEW BY NICK CLEMENT

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In 1997, my father took me to see the full director’s cut of Wolfgang Petersen’s masterpiece Das Boot in 70mm. It was an absolutely unforgettable experience. Released in 1981 and shot for a hard-to-fathom $18.5 million, this exceedingly intense submarine thriller is likely the best film of its type, a relentless cat and mouse pursuit through murky WWII waters, with some of the most claustrophobic cinematography ever captured (the great Jost Vacano was the film’s herculean director of photography). I’ll never forget the final sequence to this film, once the U-boat has made its way back to port, and the Allied forces start dropping their bombs and gunning everyone down. After all that these guys had gone through out in the open water, once home, they encountered a different type of hell. Jürgen Prochnow, Herbert Grönemeyer, Hubertus Bengsch, and Klaus Wennemann anchored the supremely masculine cast of actors, all of whom felt totally authentic in nearly every situation posed by the emotionally draining narrative. The full director’s cut is currently available for purchase on Blu-ray.

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