Crimson Tide
First screened in July 2015
Director: Tony Scott. Cast: Denzel Washington, Gene Hackman, Viggo Mortensen, George Dzundza, Matt Craven, James Gandolfini, Rocky Carroll, Danny Nucci, Lillo Brancato, Jaime Gomez, Rick Schroder, Steve Zahn, Scott Burkholder, Michael Milhoan, Eric Bruskotter, Marcello Thedford, Billy Devlin, Jacob Vargas, Kai Lennos, Vanessa Bell Calloway, Daniel Von Bargen, Jason Robards. Screenplay: Michael Schiffer (based on a screen story by Michael Schiffer and Richard P. Henrick).

Twitter Capsule: Either a well-made stupid movie or a slightly fluffed good one, depending on the scene. Washington, Hackman well cast.

VOR:   Slightly exaggerated reputation for craftsmanship but still an example of summer action cinema with brains in its head and quality on its mind. In the Die Hard neighborhood.

Photo © 1995 Hollywood Pictures/Buena Vista Pictures
Crimson Tide was a hit in its day and remains a popular favorite now, when most people see movies on periscope-sized screens. I can hardly imagine a better movie for broadcast on TBS. The images are unsubtly vivid, gelled or color-blocked in red, green, and blue fields that would reduce well to TV; there is very little detail to be lost. The screenplay, which perhaps indulges too many "This is my ship now!" / "Not so fast, it's mine!" crescendos is by that very fact replete with cliffhanging commercial breaks. You could enter the movie at almost any point and absorb a fully sufficient sense of its plot within 30 seconds, though it has arcs and character payoffs to gratify the more fully committed viewer. And beyond just Denzel Washington, perfectly cast as scrupulous Executive Officer on a nuclear submarine, and Gene Hackman, cast just as perfectly as the submarine, the cast brims with faces that would have earned trust then (George Dzundza as the chief on deck) and earn even more trust now (Viggo Mortensen, James Gandolfini, Steve Zahn, all in uniform).

Grade: B

Academy Award Nominations:
Best Film Editing: Chris Lebenzon
Best Sound: Kevin O'Connell, Rick Kline, Gregory H. Watkins, and William B. Kaplan
Best Sound Effects: George Watters II

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