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U571 at the Uptown: An Aural Experience

By JDogg in News
Thu Apr 27, 2000 at 11:32:39 AM EST
Tags: Movies (all tags)
Movies

Jonathan Mostow's thriling WWII submarine film U571 opened Friday at the Uptown Theatre in Washington D.C. Before seeing the movie last night, I had no idea what it felt like to be bombarded on all sides by booming depth charges.


U571 features a rag-tag group of actors including Matthew McConaughey, Bill Paxton, Harvey Keitel and a virtualy unrecognizable Jon Bon-Jovi. The dialogue comes off as cheesy at times and the usual war-film cliches are abundant, but the combination of an intricate plot and amazingly detailed sound holds your interest through the entire 108 minutes.

Mostow, who's previous big screen effort was the underrated Kurt Russell thriller Breakdown, manages to use sound to drive the action in the film. When the sub dives to extreme depths, you can hear (and feel when watching in the right theatre) the walls of the sub creaking on all sides. The feeling of pressure is conveyed extremly well in these scenes.

The real beauty of the movie lies in the depth charge sequences. Without giving too much of the plot away, lets just say at one point in the film a sub is being peppered with multiple depth charges (basically a water version of a land mine). The charges themselves are shown sporadically on screen, but you can feel their intensity. Quiet and distant at first, they build in volume and eventually resonate throughout the theatre. The cinematography supports this well as the camera shakes wildly with the more intense blasts. In a nice contrast, the periods of silence between these attacks stand out in their tranquility. You find yourself taking deep breaths along with the characters in the film.

If the purpose of a film is to put the audience "in the movie", then U571 succeeds on multiple levels. Throughout the film, I really felt like I was one of the crew on the U571. I left the movie suprisingly pleased, even after the film's typical hollywood ending. I do recommend paying the extra buck or two to see this movie in a theatre equiped with optimum sound. I'm curious if other people who saw the movie in a more average theatre had the same experience.

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U571 at the Uptown: An Aural Experience | 26 comments (26 topical, editorial, 0 hidden)
I heard it sucked...... (1.00 / 1) (#6)
by evro on Wed Apr 26, 2000 at 08:08:37 PM EST

evro voted 1 on this story.

I heard it sucked...
---
"Asking me who to follow -- don't ask me, I don't know!"

Good fucking flick! Check it out..... (none / 0) (#10)
by buzzbomb on Wed Apr 26, 2000 at 08:44:02 PM EST

buzzbomb voted 1 on this story.

Good fucking flick! Check it out...

Nice review, and its nice to see po... (none / 0) (#11)
by nip on Wed Apr 26, 2000 at 08:48:14 PM EST

nip voted 1 on this story.

Nice review, and its nice to see posts of a more cultural non-technical on bent kuro5hin.

Movie reviews are bad enough. Bad m... (none / 0) (#7)
by Velian on Wed Apr 26, 2000 at 09:43:33 PM EST

Velian voted -1 on this story.

Movie reviews are bad enough. Bad movie reviews... are even worse. No offense. :) I'll try here for movie reviews. :D

Here we have the opposite problem: ... (none / 0) (#2)
by Demona on Wed Apr 26, 2000 at 10:46:00 PM EST

Demona voted 0 on this story.

Here we have the opposite problem: Too much culture, not enough tech? Here some of the other ideas regarding scoop may be needed in the future (classification, labels, et al).

You used the word "rag-tag." For th... (none / 0) (#3)
by xah on Wed Apr 26, 2000 at 11:23:45 PM EST

xah voted -1 on this story.

You used the word "rag-tag." For this cliched abomination of good English, I vote no. Good write up otherwise, however.

I am anxious to see the movie mysel... (none / 0) (#14)
by bladerunner on Thu Apr 27, 2000 at 12:22:03 AM EST

bladerunner voted 1 on this story.

I am anxious to see the movie myself and the more people that say 'see it' the more I want to.
-Ex-slashdotter. I love cats, but hate Katz.

Good sound is really important for ... (none / 0) (#1)
by ramses0 on Thu Apr 27, 2000 at 12:52:18 AM EST

ramses0 voted 1 on this story.

Good sound is really important for some movies. My old roommates swear by the "Galaxy 9" theater here in Texas. "Biggest screens, THX, etc...".

All I know was that watching Star Wars TPM in the very upper left-hand seat, the sound effects and light-sabers made me feel like I was -in- the movie. Total immersion is cool. :^)=

--Robert
[ rate all comments , for great justice | sell.com ]

Its really not hard to emulate this... (none / 0) (#9)
by inspire on Thu Apr 27, 2000 at 01:16:57 AM EST

inspire voted -1 on this story.

Its really not hard to emulate this experience. Go buy some heavy-duty bass speakers, and turn it up all the way. Voila, instant gut-wrenching reality during explosions.
--
What is the helix?

Good write up, and since I did a mo... (3.00 / 1) (#4)
by FlinkDelDinky on Thu Apr 27, 2000 at 01:44:54 AM EST

FlinkDelDinky voted 1 on this story.

Good write up, and since I did a movie review too I'll vote for this (even though it's a hollywood flick).

I'm waiting for the video. However, there's another flick about a WWII sub. It's called "Das Boat". This is a really great flick about a German sub commander trying to get back to his base in germany.

It's in german and that's the version I recommend you rent, but it's been dubbed in English and retitled "The boat". Still good but I think you should go with the original german. It's a really dramatically intense war flick. Great ending too, made me smile.

... (none / 0) (#8)
by CodeWright on Thu Apr 27, 2000 at 09:40:46 AM EST

CodeWright voted 1 on this story.

Yahoo!

I just wish that Silent Hunter 2 had come out on time -- this movie would have boosted sales of that game tremendously. Unfortunately, Mattel is gutting their computer games division, and I'm pretty sure that SH2 is on the chopping block.



--
A: Because it destroys the flow of conversation.
Q: Why is top posting dumb? --clover_kicker

I also noticed the sound technique ... (none / 0) (#12)
by mahlen on Thu Apr 27, 2000 at 10:36:28 AM EST

mahlen voted 1 on this story.

I also noticed the sound technique in this film when i saw it at the huge Coronet in San Francisco. My analysis was a bit more brief; "LOUD!". I thought the film was well realized, but the predictabilty of the film kind of drowned out (!) the technical skills. Plus the obvious anachronism of someone being referred to as a "black man" in an era when no one would use that term bugged me (but hey, I'm a nerd).

Now Das Boot, there was a great submarine movie.

Das Boot (none / 0) (#25)
by IcI on Fri Apr 28, 2000 at 03:17:12 PM EST

Bas Boot was and still is a spectacular movie. If you want a good story, watch Das Boot. Still looking forward to U571 though (in three months down here in RSA) PS I simply had to have my own copy (on DVD; even after the DeCSS fiasco).
<pre> oo oo
BIG Brother is watching
\\ \/ /\ //
OO OO OO OO OO OO OO OO cc dd
</pre>
[ Parent ]
I think that the way sound and visu... (none / 0) (#13)
by DemiGodez on Thu Apr 27, 2000 at 10:54:11 AM EST

DemiGodez voted 1 on this story.

I think that the way sound and visual effects are being used in movies is interesting.

I agree. This movie was impressive ... (none / 0) (#5)
by Greener on Thu Apr 27, 2000 at 11:27:02 AM EST

Greener voted 1 on this story.

I agree. This movie was impressive in a theater with a high end sound system. At home on TV just wouldn't be the same experience.

Re: U571 at the Uptown: An Aural Experience (4.00 / 2) (#15)
by Anonymous Hero on Thu Apr 27, 2000 at 12:06:14 PM EST

Just thought I'd mention that the Americans weren't even involved in the War when the Enigma engine was captured by the British.

Shame this film is revisionist. That's a disservice to the people that died to obtain the device.

Good sound ? shame historical accuracy is laughabl (4.00 / 1) (#16)
by Anonymous Hero on Thu Apr 27, 2000 at 12:25:27 PM EST

It's concerning how Hollywood can just rewrite history as they see fit.

The capture of the first Enigma was an entirely British mission. Not a Yank in sight, which isn't surprising when you consider this was in 1941 and the US hadn't even entered the war. Oh, and the U-boat was actually U110 - posing the big fat question: why is the film call U571? All the coding cracking was done in Bletechly Park too.

I'm just waiting for some American to walk upto me and say, "good job we captured the U571, we really saved your asses there".

Re: Good sound ? shame historical accuracy is laug (none / 0) (#18)
by JDogg on Thu Apr 27, 2000 at 02:44:02 PM EST

They explained at the end of the movie that a bunch of HMS ships cracked the Enigma code before American ships got involved.


***It's like I'm Han Solo, you're Chewie, he's Ben Kenobi and we're in that FUCKED-UP BAR!!!***
-- Jay from Dogma
[ Parent ]
Re: Good sound ? shame historical accuracy is laug (none / 0) (#21)
by Anonymous Hero on Thu Apr 27, 2000 at 06:07:43 PM EST

Um, but the Navel Enigma was a different beast. It had an extra rotor, and was never successfully cracked at Bletechly Park. From what I understand (which is very little) it was introduced mid-war... The most sucessfull 'cracks' relied on stolen hardware and stolen codebooks.

[ Parent ]
Re: Good sound ? shame historical accuracy is laug (none / 0) (#22)
by Aztech on Thu Apr 27, 2000 at 08:14:56 PM EST

Actually it was cracked, but not by brute force, HMS Navy actually captured a u-boat, just like in the film I guess, and got the code book, it allowed Bletchley to decode the messages very easily, since they now knew the keys for particular days.

Apparently the code book was made of a special type of paper and ink wish would become ineligible when it hit water, but the commanding officer of the u-boat ordered everyone to evacuate before they got the chance to destroy it. The German radio officer who operated the Enigma actually grabbed a picture of his girlfriend and shoved it inside his jacket instead, he still has it to this day, if he'd grabbed the code book instead ... it might of been a different story.

This is all covered in the Station X book, there was also a TV series on this too, they interviewed the German officer.

[ Parent ]
Re: U571 at the Uptown: An Aural Experience (none / 0) (#17)
by Anonymous Hero on Thu Apr 27, 2000 at 01:04:32 PM EST

What about the U96? Has anyone seen it? It's a German submarine movie. And an excellent one, might I add.

Re: U571 at the Uptown: An Aural Experience (none / 0) (#19)
by superfly on Thu Apr 27, 2000 at 02:44:52 PM EST

Alternative review.

Re: U571 not bad (none / 0) (#20)
by Anonymous Hero on Thu Apr 27, 2000 at 05:57:36 PM EST

Just saw it last night -- was better than I expected (the Salon.com review I read before shredded it so my expectations were low).

This film was orginally billed as "Saving Private Ryan on a submarine" -- not quite. More of an American-gung-ho action remake of "Das Boat". No time for character development here, just damn the torpedos and bang! BOOM! bang! The only Oscar this movie could get is sound editing.

Sound is used effectively. Shots whiz by, depth charges above you, to the left, to the right, the groaning of the hull being crunched by extreme sea pressure... yeah great sound.

From what I understand the first smuggled Enigma was sold to the British Codebreakers from Polish smugglers. Still the code books captured from U boats played an integral part in keeping up with the latest German encryption changes. Whatever.

This movie ranks third behind "Das Boat" and "Hunt for Red October" in the submarine drama genre.

Re: U571 not bad (none / 0) (#26)
by Anonymous Hero on Mon May 01, 2000 at 03:20:44 AM EST

s/Boat/Boot/g

[ Parent ]
Das Boot is a lot better (none / 0) (#23)
by prestonlanders on Thu Apr 27, 2000 at 09:45:13 PM EST

"Das Boot" is the far superior film.  The ending especially is far more
poignant.

I did enjoy this movie despite its rather simplistic cliched
good-americans-versus-bad-germans tone.


definitely check out the Das Boot DVD.... (none / 0) (#24)
by otis wildflower on Fri Apr 28, 2000 at 11:19:30 AM EST

Its use of DD5.1 is absolutely claustrophobic.. And for a submarine movie, that's definitely a compliment...
[root@usmc.mil /]# chmod a+x /bin/laden
U571 at the Uptown: An Aural Experience | 26 comments (26 topical, 0 editorial, 0 hidden)
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