Monday, March 4, 2019

Crimson Tide (1995)

"In the nuclear world, the true enemy is war itself."

Hollywood simply cannot help itself when it comes to expressing its liberal hand even in military cinema.

Director Tony Scott opens with a dinner table discussion on whether the United States should have dropped atom bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945. Given the events of Pearl Harbor, Imperial Japan and Nazi Germany, Democrat President Harry S. Truman did exactly the right thing to end the war and stop the endless suffering and tragic loss of lives. Additionally, I've read similar opinions shared by some Japanese writers. Truman's decision in that war demonstrates just how radically different the Democratic Party is today out there underscoring identity politics rather than the united national security secured by Truman. This is not the same Democrat in the slightest---not even close!

The decision to look at Crimson Tide (1995) follows upon a recent viewing of:

A. The Hunt For Red October (1990) and
B. Tony Scott's Enemy Of The State (1998).

Given those two variables where exactly does Crimson Tide fall within the submarine (sub)genre of the action thriller?

Enemy Of The State also featured Gene Hackman who actually elevated that material substantially. Hackman stars here in Crimson Tide opposite Denzel Washington and a tremendous supporting cast, not unlike the all-star cast for The Hunt For Red October.

On its face, The Hunt For Red October and the Crimson Tide might suggest two films with substantial similarities, given the respective color in their titles, but as it turns out that's simply untrue.

The Hunt For Red October was based on a Tom Clancy novel and Crimson Tide supposes a what if scenario of its own based upon events surrounding a Soviet submarine (B-59) during the intense stand off of the Cuban Missile Crisis. That crisis was also spearheaded by then Democrat John F. Kennedy, an arguably conservative Democrat by today's green new deal standards.

For once, Tony Scott executes credibly throughout the film allowing viewers to engage without losing them to the preposterous nature of the action that Scott often finds himself immersed. Even with Jerry Bruckheimer producing Crimson Tide managed two thumbs up from Siskel And Ebert and it's easy to see why.

Where The Hunt For Red October draws upon the political thriller and often the political calculations behind the scenes, the bulk of Crimson Tide takes place entirely in its submarine and is a lean, mean thrill ride and one of the few Scott seems to keep tight. While the events are not entirely credible, Scott sells the dramatic action effectively and we are very much along for the ride. Revisiting the work of Tony Scott I've often found he lacks the narrative intelligence adhered to by his brother Ridley.

At its core is a story of two men and their respective command decisions. Both have very principled beliefs. Both are given a set of variables, but arrive at two very different, distinct conclusions and the contrast is stark and fierce forcing two sides to be drawn and a mutiny to ensue by standing on and by those beliefs. It's also a film where crucial decisions are made by everyone and when seconds count those decisions can fall upon the most unsuspecting of shoulders. In those decisions heroes are born and/or fall.

Every time I return to The Hunt For Red October there are aspects about the thriller that leave me unfulfilled. With Crimson Tide it's undeniably as equally entertaining as The Hunt For Red October and more so for this writer.

So if you can forgive or accept the implausibility of a ship mutiny (you have to suspend your disbelief there a bit), the film is unsinkable. Crimson Tide cruises in with all the expectations of a smart, taut, terrific, submarine thriller. Helmed and led by an outstanding cast, spearheaded by the always gripping Hackman and Washington, Crimson Tide is the one that rises to the surface for me every time and torpedoes the competition. This is arguably one of Scott's best.

Director: Tony Scott.
Writer: Michael Schiffer.
Grade: A-

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Crimson Tide (1995)

"I n the nuclear world, the true enemy is war itself." H ollywood simply cannot help itself when it comes to expressing its lib...