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Lt. Commander Mike Dahlgren skippers the S-33, a vintage U.S. WWI submarine which is older than most of its crew. Even though the vessel is considered primitive and suffers numerous defects, it is a deadly tool in the right hands. Now it is being given the chance to prove its worth yet again, as the Americans enter World War II.
As submarine movies go, U-571 gets the job done - that is to say, it tells an engaging (albeit predictable) story and features several scenes of nail-biting suspense. All of the usual plot staples are in evidence: tension between crew members, deep diving where the hull threatens to collapse, dodging depth charges, and sub-to-sub battles. Director Jonathan Mostow should be commended for taking a thin script and crafting a compelling film out of it. U-571 doesn't hold together well upon reflection, but, while it's playing on screen, it works.
Mike Dahlgren (Bill Paxton) skippers the S-33, a vintage U.S. WWI submarine
which is older than most of its crew. Even though the vessel is considered
primitive and suffers numerous defects, it is a deadly tool in the right hands.
Now it is being given the chance to prove its worth yet again, as the Americans
enter World War II.
Admiral's command, Lt. Hirsch (Jake Weber) is taking charge of the S-33 with
Marine Major Coonan (David Keith). Their luggage is a large load of crates
with unknown contents, contents which cannot be revealed until the submarine has
cleared American waters. Once the S-33 is at sea, the mission is divulged. Like
the Trojan horse of Greek mythology, their craft has been rigged to resemble a
U-boat, the notorious Nazi submarine which traversed the depths of the North
Atlantic. They are to rendezvous with what Lt. Hirsch assumes is a stranded
German submarine, posing as Germans and capture the Enigma machine, a
valuable top-secret coding device that could help the Allies stop the incessant
attacks of the deadly wolfpacks at sea.
must be conducted in total secrecy, as seizing this device without the enemy's
knowledge is the only way for Allied intelligence to decipher their movements
and put an end to the enormous losses inflicted upon convoys carrying vital
supplies across the ocean. If all goes as planned, they will destroy the U-boat,
take the prisoners back to the United States and the enemy will never know about
their secret acquisition.
unexpected turn of events, this group of American sailors become trapped in the
enemy's vessel, deep in hostile waters, and at a major disadvantage as to how to
operate the foreign sub. The destiny of these nine ordinary men, as well as the
fate of their mission, will ultimately depend on their camraderie, their
instinct, their battle against time and a battle against their own fears.