BELOW

That Sinking Feeling

Content -2
Quality
None Light Moderate Heavy
Language        
Violence        
Sex        
Nudity        

Release Date: October 11, 2002

Starring: Nick Chinlund

Genre: Drama/Horror

Audience: Adults and Older Teenagers

Rating: R, for language and violence

Runtime: 104 minutes

Distributor: Dimension Films

Director: David N. Twohy

Executive Producer: Darren Aronofsky, Mark Indig,
and Eric Watson

Producer: Sue Baden-Powell

Writer: Lucas Sussman, Darren
Aronofsky and David N. Twohy

Address Comments To:

Dimension Films
99 Hudson Street, 5th Floor
New York, NY 10013
212.219.4100
www.dimensionfilms.com

Content:

(OO, C, B, LLL, VV, S, N, A, D, M) Occult worldview with prominent display of cross in resolution and moral that sins will be found out; 26 obscenities and 11 profanities; intense violence including beatings, point blank shootings, impaling on submarine, hit by hammer, and burned bodies; sexual innuendo; rear male nudity; alcohol; smoking; and, deception, cover up, lying - all rebuked.


Summary:

In BELOW, strange happenings occur on a WWII submarine. A movie with great acting, special effects, and plot tension, is mitigated by poor character development.


Review:

Submarine movies are making a comeback with U-571 and K-19. Set in 1943 in the midst of the battle for the Atlantic, BELOW tells the story of the U.S.S. Tigershark from a slightly different perspective than most submarine movies.
The movie opens with a reconnaissance plane sighting the survivors from a destroyed British hospital ship. The U.S.S. Tigershark is sent to rescue the three survivors. One turns out to be a woman, which immediately sets everybody on edge. After all, women on submarines are bad luck (if only, because the men fight over them and make lewd comments).
One survivor turns out to be a German sailor prisoner of war. When the Tigershark is attacked by an anti-submarine destroyer, the German is accused of having tried to give away their position by turning on a phonograph. Mr. Brice, the commanding officer, shoots the German at point blank range.
However, the problems do not stop with the death of the German sailor. The phonograph goes off inexplicably, the rudder freezes up, the ship develops an oil leak, and crisis develops upon crisis, setting the men against each other and killing most of them.
BELOW is a very tightly directed movie. The acting is exceptional. Bruce Greenwood, who played J.F.K. in 13 DAYS does a wonderful job as Brice.
The horror is palpable. The question arises; is the former commander, who died inexplicably, haunting the ship? Some of the apparitions and maledictions are truly frightening. A cross plays an important part by the end of the movie, but there is also, however, a lot of superstition and occult babble as each sailor takes a different point of view toward the strange happenings.
BELOW could have been a four star movie. It is certainly better than K-19. The problem is that the characters are not clearly developed. BLACK HAWK DOWN used this docudrama approach successfully. Here it does not work. A sub is a tight space, where character matters. The jeopardy is there, the fear is there, the anxiety is there… all the motivating factors, but the audience is just not given a reason to care about these men. Too bad! BELOW is a movie that had great potential.
Further, BELOW has too much foul language and violence at several points, going over the top. The blood and gore goes beyond what is necessary to tell the story. MOVIEGUIDE® liked Twohy’s previous movie, PI, for its intellectual excellence and Christian elements. In this movie, he seems to have gone in a different direction, however, exploring the genre, but avoiding the philosophical issues.


In Brief:

Set during World War II, BELOW opens the U.S.S. Tigershark being sent to rescue the three survivors from a destroyed British hospital ship, which include a German P.O.W. and a woman. When the Tigershark is attacked by an anti-sub destroyer, the German is accused of having tried to give away their position. The commanding officer shoots him, but the problems do not stop. The phonograph goes off inexplicably, the rudder freezes up, the ship develops an oil leak, and crisis develops upon crisis, setting the men against each other and killing most of them. Is the former commander, who died inexplicably, haunting the ship?
The acting and directing in BELOW are exceptional. Some of the apparitions are truly frightening. A cross plays an important part by the end of the movie, but there is also, however, a lot of superstition and occult babble as each sailor takes a different point of view toward what’s happening. BELOW could have been a four star movie, the jeopardy is there, the fear is there, the anxiety is there… all the motivating factors, but the characters are not clearly developed. Furthermore, BELOW has too much foul language and violence