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Movie Review

Black Sea

MPAA Rating: R for language throughout, some graphic images and violence.

Reviewed by: Samuel Chetty

Extremely Offensive
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Moviemaking Quality:

Primary Audience:
Adventure Suspense Thriller
1 hr. 55 min.
Year of Release:
USA Release:
January 23, 2015 (limited—4 theaters)
January 30, 2015 (wide—313 theaters)
DVD: May 5, 2015
Copyright, Focus Features click photos to ENLARGE Copyright, Focus Features
Relevant Issues
Copyright, Focus Features

gold in the Bible


murder in the Bible


Copyright, Focus Features


FEAR, Anxiety and Worry—What does the bible say? Answer

willingness to sacrifice one’s own life to save others

Featuring: Jude LawCaptain Robinson
Ben MendelsohnFraser
Jodie Whittaker … Chrissy
Tobias Menzies … Lewis
Scoot McNairy … Daniels
Paulina Boneva … Job Center Worker
Grigoriy Dobrygin … Morozov
more »
Director: Kevin Macdonald—“The Last King of Scotland,” “State of Play,” “Touching the Void”
Producer: Focus Features
more »
Distributor: Focus Features

“The only thing more dangerous than the mission is the crew.”

“Black Sea” is a submarine thriller about a submarine captain who, after losing his job with a salvage company, assembles a crew of other laid-off employees to search for a WWII submarine on the bottom of the ocean floor purported to be loaded with gold. The deal is that each crew member will receive an equal share of the treasure, but, as the mission progresses, members start to realize that, if fewer members survive, each member would receive a greater percentage of the gold. This leads to greed and violence, and the morals of each crew member are put to the test.

The movie has a suspenseful and engaging plot, but a very high amount of objectionable content. The script is profanity-heavy, with obscenities in at least half of the lines, the majority being f-words. There are at least eighteen irreverent uses of God or Christ’s name, including two uses of GD, and there is an irreverent image of a cross.

Violence is not pervasive; however, the scenes of violence include stabbings and incinerations, sometimes with detailed gore. No sexual activity is depicted on-screen, but sexual intercourse outside of marriage is discussed and condoned in generalized terms. There is mention of a character’s suicide from prescription drug overdose, and characters are shown drinking several times.

Some positive morals can also be observed. Greed is shown to have grave consequences, and a crew member courageously speaks up to protect a man who is about to be shot. There is also an example of willingness to sacrifice one’s own life to save others. But I have seen movies exhibit these values more strongly with much less objectionable content along the way, which is why I do not recommend “Black Sea.”

One thing I can say is that, if you watch the movie, you may feel a sudden appreciation for walking on land.

Violence: Extreme / Profanity: Extreme / Sex/Nudity: Moderate

See list of Relevant Issues—questions-and-answers.

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Movie Critics

…‘Black Sea’ is a ripping underwater adventure… gradually revs up into a cracking adventure with gut-knotting suspense [3½/4]
—Kyle Smith, New York Post

…a fittingly immersive thriller, tautly directed… Law’s conflicted working-class antihero emerges as his most satisfyingly substantial lead performance in years. …
—Michael Rechtshaffen, Los Angeles Times

…middlingly tense, unambiguously adult-oriented thriller… Torpedoed by a screenplay that laboriously updates Alistair MacLean tropes to a post-post-Cold-War 21st century seascape…
—Neil Young, The Hollywood Reporter

…Disguised as an old-fashioned adventure film, “Black Sea” is a really a jeremiad for the new gilded age. …has an insistent political subtext that distinguishes it from earlier films in the undersea action genre. …
—Stephen Holden, The New York Times

…has a couple of twists you may not see coming along with a palpable sense of danger, claustrophobia and hope sliding to hopelessness and back again. … [3/4]
—Barbara Vancheri, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

…at once fist-clenchingly suspenseful and, well, dull. … [3/4]
—Steven Rea, Philadelphia Inquirer

…The movie morphs from a heist picture to a sub survival movie to a Greed Gets to You thriller and is more convincing in its first two modes than in the last. The thrills …are few and far between, and the tense moments are either utterly predictable or arrive, out of the blue. …
—Roger Moore, McClatchy-Tribune News Service

…while “Black Sea” has its tin-can powder keg moments, the film never fully coheres into the riveting undersea actioner it so clearly wishes to be. …[2/5]
—Marc Savlov, The Austin Chronicle

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