Movie Review: "Phantom"
During the first few years of this blog, one of the regular features was movie reviews. I haven't been doing as many of those lately, but I figured I owed it to my readers to take one for the team and see the new submarine movie, "Phantom". I hadn't heard that much about it, and frankly my expectations were pretty low -- I really figured it would have a low level of submarine accuracy.
As it turns out, it's clear that they had an actual Submariner as a technical adviser, and they listened to him for the most part. While I don't have specific expertise on the operations of a Soviet Golf-class submarine in the late '60s, a lot of the submarine verbiage was at least semi-accurate, and the movement of crew members throughout the boat looked pretty realistic. Except for some serious issues with the concept of ordered depths during an attempted underhull, and what seemed like some illogical sequences of operation during surfacing and submerging (although who's to say how the Soviets did things on old diesel boats?) it wasn't nearly as bad as I expected.
The story itself was pretty poor. Supposedly based on the loss of the K-129 in 1968, with a script adapted from "Red Star Rogue" by Kenneth Sewell [who also wrote a book theorizing that USS Scorpion (SSN 589) was sunk by the Soviets], you have to suspend disbelief even more than normal for a Cold War tale. Ed Harris did a good job as the CO, and David Duchovny played the character he always plays -- no better, no worse than normal.
Although I went into the movie expecting to give it "the finger", I was impressed enough by the level of accuracy of submarine operations to move it up to two annoying metaphysical endings out of five.