On the brink of nuclear war, two men clash over the fate of the world.
Crimson Tide is a 1995 submarine film directed by Tony Scott, written by Michael Schiffer, produced by Hollywood Pictures and Don Simpson/Jerry Bruckheimer Films, and distributed by Buena Vista Pictures. The films stars Denzel Washington and Gene Hackman. It was nominated for Best Sound Mixing, Best Film Editing, and Best Sound Mixing. The film did not win any of those.
"I believe, in the nuclear world, that the true enemy is war itself." -Lt. Commander Ron Hunter
Years after the Cold War, a rogue Russian nationalist threatens nuclear war if the American or Russian governments try to confront him. Captain Frank Ramsey is sent underwater in a submarine to launch a counterattack in the event of a Russian missile launch. After receiving a message that gives Ramsey motive to launch, XO Ron Hunter tries to stop him, fearing a disaster is coming.
The best thing about this movie is the suspense. Throughout this movie, there's a sense of urgency and terror that the movie makes you feel. Every scene keeps you on the edge of your seat, and if you have to go to the bathroom during this movie, you're going to want to hold it.
The writing and plot are incredibly clever. Each scene is crafted and directed perfectly. Some of the shots, especially the underwater exterior shots, are super cool. Denzel Washington and Gene Hackman share great chemistry, which makes the scenes really great. There are a couple of standouts, though.
The first is when the Russian submarine shoots the torpedos at the Alabama. The first part of that is incredibly intense. Your limbs are shaking as you watch the torpedos barely miss. Then, a couple scenes later, the Russian submarine resurfaces and barely misses again. That entire sequence is super thrilling and you are leaning forward with your heart pounding.
The second scene is right after the Alabama gets hit. The ship is sinking down as sailors desperately try to get the propeller moving again. Other crew members are forced to sacrifice their lives for the safety of the rest of the ship. After that sad and intense part ends, the propeller isn't restarting. The ship is going down and the crew is getting prepared to be crushed by the water pressure. It is almost hard to watch because the crew has an inevitable death, until the propeller starts working and the ship is saved.
The next one is when the lieutenants forcefully remove Hunter from captain. That is near the end of the film, and you're rooting for Hunter to stop Ramsey from launching the missiles. The whole scene is brought to life by the direction and the acting. That scene could've been a total flop, but the way that it plays out and how sudden it is makes it another super intense scene.
I think that either Denzel or Gene Hackman should've been nominated for an Oscar. They are both amazing and give their characters life. Denzel Washington portrays Ron Hunter in the perfect manner. He gives Hunter authority, but shows that he is quiet and likable. When he's captain, you can see that he is confident that he's right and knows that launching the missiles is not a good idea.
Hackman is meant to be an antagonist, but you also root for him. He is kind of a jerk, and Gene Hackman makes you hate him...but makes him likable and charismatic at the same time. He is like Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. He can show the side of him that is the experienced war vet overruling the smart but inexperienced XO. He also shows the truly bad side of him when he almost shoots Weps and then one of the sailors on the weapons control board.
The ensemble characters are good enough. They are overshadowed by Ron Hunter and Frank Ramsey, but Weps, Cob, Zimmer, etc. are all enjoyable and likable, but have their dark sides as well.
I have almost no negatives on this. The one thing is that the beginning of the film (before the fire breaks out on the submarine) can be a bit slow. You get to know the characters and the story begins to pan out, but it is a little bit slow.
That's all that I've got for negatives on this one.
This movie is near perfect. Despite a bit of a slow start, everything else, from the cast to the story, is fantastic.
I'll give it a Sweet rating. Age range is 12+.
SWEET N' SOUR SCALE
Fun Factor: 10/10
WHERE TO WATCH
Amazon Prime Video: Available for rent
Apple TV+: Available for rent
Directed by Tony Scott
Released on May 12, 1995
Rated R for strong bloody violence, strong language, intense scenes
1 hour and 56 minutes
Denzel Washington as Lt. Cdr. Ron Hunter
Gene Hackman as Captain Frank Ramsey
George Dzundza as Cob
Matt Craven as Lt. Roy Zimmer
Viggo Mortensen as Weps
James Gandolfini as Lt. Bobby Dougherty