“ Genre: War & Western - War / Theatrical Release: 1982 / Director: Wolfgang Petersen / Actors: Jürgen Prochnow, Herbert Grönemeyer ... / DVD released 12 May, 2003 at Sony Pictures Home Entertainment / Features of the DVD: Director's Cut, Dubbed, PAL, Widescreen „
This film is out of this world. It is based almost wholly around life in a submarine and should be so boring yet ear; every minute of it is filled with suspense and keeps you on the edge of your chair, never letting go, not once. The plot (as already well summarised in a previous review) is very clever as it concerns a journalist going on a German submarine voyage in WW2 in order to report back on how heroic the submarine sailors are. This works nicely because the audience can share in the feelings of the journalist.
What really made this film for me was the surround sound and I do fear that it would not be nearly as effective without this. Quite a lot of suspense is created by hearing the creaks and groans of the submarine coming from all angles at different times.
The film is extremely long so be ready for a long night if you chose to watch it, but also be prepared for revelationary night, because this certainly ranks as one of the most memorable films I have watched. An absolute gem!
European films are slowly starting to be more popular even in England which, politically and culturally, is often more oriented towards America than towards "the Continent". Whereas French films have during the last few years grown immensely in popularity and have also managed to acquire the reputation of being "intelligent" and "witty" films, German cinema is still largely ignored. In fact, it is hardly possible for anybody to even rent a German film at the big videostores let alone watch one in a cinema that is not somewhere in London (and even there they are rare). This does not mean, however, that German cinema is actually much poorer than French cinema: and the film "Das Boot" (the boat) clearly proves this point. "Das Boot" was shot in 1981 and directed by Wolfgang Petersen, starring the well-known (well, in Germany at least) actor Herbert Groenemeyer. Groenemeyer who acts stunningly well is now far more popular because of his musical career than because of his acting - during the last one and a half decades, he has released a great number of albums with extremely clever lyrics, including such smash hits as the song "Bochum" which deals with his home town Bochum and describes life in an area of Germany which has the reputation of being ugly because of its industries. "Das Boot" was not the starting point of Groenemeyer's career but it definitely made him unforgettable in Germany and led to the "rivalry" (which in fact only exists in newspapers) between him and the German actor Westernhagen, who has also turned to music during the last years. Petersen's film shows the experiences of a few World War 2 soldiers whose job it is to take a particular route with their submarine without being seen by the English. Due to their experiences under the sea and their absence from Germany, they learn to mock not only the ideology of the Nazis but to understand the whole
senselessness of the war which leads them into breathtaking situations full of suspense. A film which can play an important part in understanding Germany and Germans today and in realising the uselessness and dangers of war in general.
Wolfgang Petersen's harrowing and claustrophobic U-boat thriller Das Boot was released as both a theatrical film and a six-hour mini-series, and remains the most expensive production ever made by a German studio. The expanded "Director's Cut" of the movie was re-released 1997 and it is this version that is available for home viewing. This epic story became an instant classic on its first release, provoking critical and audience acclaim worldwide for its sympathetic and entirely truthful portrayal of a German U-boat crew. Faithfully adapted from the best-selling novel by Lothar-Günther Buchheim, Petersen and his committed cast (led by the amazing Jürgen Prochnow) were concerned to ensure that every detail was rendered with painstaking accuracy--both physical and psychological--and the result is not only the best submarine drama ever made but also arguably the finest cinematic portrait of men at war and the terrible madness they must endure.