Wolfgang Peterson’s star-studded thriller proves yet another mainstream success for 1990’s cinema as Dustin Hoffman’s USAMRID Colonel attempts to stay ahead of a lethal virus which is laying waste to a small California town. With former wife and CDC big-wig (Rene Russo) in tow alongside his own team (an Oscar-laden Kevin Spacey and Cuba Gooding Jr.), they go about town disobeying orders from their shadowy superiors, breaking quarantine, and any number of other drastic measures in the hope of manufacturing an antibody before Donald Sutherland’s nasty General destroys the whole town – simply to keep the virus for his own biological weapons programme! It’s a sweeping popcorn movie expertly crafted to draw every bit of tension out of an old plot and infused with all manner of personality, chemistry, and light humour by that glittering cast. Hoffman, in particular, seems to be enjoying himself no end while Russo shows yet again that she can not only hold her own next to any A-Lister in the business but enhance both of their performances with that endearing rapport she seems to so easily generate. Sutherland is the straight bad guy but Morgan Freeman gets his teeth into an altogether more textured role as the General who discovers that duty and honour make for poor bedfellows. Throw in a couple of cracking helicopter chases and a last minute dash to stop the town’s imminent destruction and you’ve got a decent night in front of the box.
Rating: The Ugly – 60.4 Genre: Disaster Duration: 130 mins Director: Wolfgang Peterson Stars: George Clooney, Mark Wahlberg, Diane Lane
The Perfect Storm is a dramatised account of “The Storm of the Century” that hit the north eastern sea-board of the US in the early 90’s. The movie focuses on a swordboat crew led by salty captain George Clooney, whose attempt to traverse the oceanic monster leads to disastrous consequences. The dialogue is cheesball city but the sea-based action sequences particularly once the storm gets going are a sight to behold.
Rating: The Good – 84.5 Genre: War Duration: 149mins Director: Wolfgang Peterson Stars: Jürgen Prochnow, Herbert Grönemeyer,
Wolfgang Peterson’s account of life aboard one of Germany’s infamous WWII U-boats provides the perfect metaphor for the confusion of war. Jürgen Prochnow plays the submarine’s captain charged with attacking the heavily protected Allied convoys in the Atlantic while contending with the often uninformed orders of his fleet command. Director Wolfgang Peterson wonderfully creates the sense of claustrophobia that came with being cooped up in such small quarters for extended periods of time. He is equally adept at using that claustrophobia to augment the boredom of the quieter scenes and the terror of the battle sequences as the boat dives ever deeper to avoid the depth charges of the Allied battle cruisers circling above. The release of that mental and physical pressure is also spectacularly captured on the occasions when the U-boat surfaces and Prochnow leads his boat through the waves from the top of his conning tower to Klaus Doldinger’s magnificent score. All this makes Das Boot a unique film going experience and one that stays with you long after seeing it.