Rated: R for mild violence and some obscenities. Reviewed by: Chris Release date: May 12, 1995 Released by: Hollywood Pictures
The Cold War, subject of more than a few movie thrillers, is back with a vengeance in Director Tony Scott's new film, Crimson Tide.
Most of the drama is between tough U.S. submarine Captain Ramsey (Gene Hackman) and his executive officer, Hunter (Denzel Washington). A civil war breaks out in Russia and a military faction threatens the United States with a nuclear attack. The difference between the two men is caused by an emergency message being cut off during transmission, and the way each of them deals with it.
The dark, close quarters of the nuclear sub is a perfect setting for the rising tempers and imminent danger. The newly appointed Hunter is Annapolis-trained and thinks before acting and he locks horns with the more reactionary captain, a seasoned sailor, who barks out orders and expects them to be followed to the letter.
Washington and Hackman are two absorbing actors. They dominate the screen, which is welcomed since the rest of the crew is inconsequential to the story. Other than George Dzundza (Law and Order), the costars are interchangeable. Hackman, clenching a big cigar between his teeth, eggs on his philosophical adversary with a smile and gleam in his eye. And Washington exudes book-smart polish, you couldn't ask for a better cast.
The verbal duel played out against an impending torpedo hit and probably global nuclear war, makes an exciting and tense drama. Crimson Tide is a terrific undersea adventure and as the first big film of the summer, it starts it off with a bang.