Fri, Nov 19, 2004 - Page 16 News List

Not as good as `Das Boot' but not bad either


Better a dull night in than a dull night out.


Reaction to this movie has been polarized, veering from the very bad to the pretty good. It probably lies somewhere inbetween.

"I can't believe that this movie even got a 5.9 rating. Should be zero. The casting stinks. The acting stinks. The directing stinks," was one line on a movie review Web site.

The "critic" deplored the film's historical accuracy, it's tenuous grasp of technical details and said it would appeal only to someone who has no knowledge of military history whatsoever. The critic ends by saying watch Das Boot instead.

But another wannabe critic did a big U-boat U-turn on the subject, saying, "I have watched In Enemy Hands a total of four times and my opinion has made a complete 180-turn. I think the story is very well done and offers an unusual peek into the lives of men at sea. Instead of the Germans being portrayed as mindless puppets of Hitler, they are portrayed as human beings, husbands [and] fathers."

As ever, the truth lies somewhere inbetween. It's a little slow to start with and improves as it goes on but doesn't seem to tie up all the loose ends, with plotlines and

characterization getting muddled.

The story follows Chief Nate Travers (played by William Macy) aboard the USS Swordfish, en route to one of the many sea battles that was to take place during World War II.

The rest of the crew of the Swordfish seem to fade into the background. Scott Caan, as Sullivan, comes across as a fool with too much arrogance and no common sense. This character is so busy feeling important that when he dies, one only feels that it would have been better if he had gone sooner.

Ian Somerhalder plays Miller, who spends a lot of time complaining and crying. His only redeeming moment is when he and a German exchange photos of their families.

Film Notes

Directed by: Tony Giglio

Starring: William Macy (Chief of Boat), Til Schweiger (Kapitain Jonas Herdt), Scott Caan (Lieutenant Commander Randall Sullivan)

Running time: 94 min

Language: English/German and Chinese subtitles

Taiwan Release: today

The best thing about the movie is that it has a couple of twists and the dialogue rarely sounds stilted because it is in two languages (one third German, two thirds English).

The moral of the film seems to be that enemies can work together in order to stay alive. So, a few good points but maybe it's better to rent the film for a dull night in, rather than drag along the girlfriend for a movie that will irritate as much as it will elevate.

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