Phantom (2013) Sub Movie with a Russian Point of View

Phantom

I discovered Phantom thanks to a comment on my post on U571 . Since it’s a new movie and it has been quite a while since I last saw a submarine movie and because I’m very fond of Ed Harris, I thought I’d give it a shot. While it’s maybe not among the top of the range, it was decent and had an unusual angle. This is a Cold War movie told entirely from a Russian perspective. It took some getting used to in the beginning that Ed Harris, David Duchovny and William Fichtner all played Russians, but once I realized there wouldn’t be any American counterparts in this film, it was easier to accept. And I was very thankful that for once there were no fake Russian accents to endure.

The movie is set in 1968. The aging Captain of a submarine, Demi (Ed Harris), is assigned a final mission on an old submarine on which he served decades ago. Why he is assigned and what the mission is, isn’t said. He’s surprised to find out that two people he’s not familiar with will come aboard as well, not telling him why they join the mission.

Once on board strange things happen. A dog which isn’t there attacks the Captain, he sees people who die in a fire. We soon get to know that these are hallucinations and that the Captain suffers from epilepsy due to a head trauma. The backstory will be revealed later on.

Because he has an epileptic fit, things escalate quickly and loyalties are tested. Shortly after that the two strangers show their real faces and the movie turns into a thriller.

I can’t say too much or the movie would be spoilt. It’s based on a true event, the disappearance of a submarine in 1968, but that’s as historical as it gets. Nobody has ever found out what happened to said submarine. This movie just tries to imagine one possibility and the diea is quite chilling.

Phantom is a rather slow movie that takes a lot of time to show interior shots, which capture very well how narrow and claustrophobic it is in a submarine. There are hardly any outside shots as the bulk of the action takes place inside. The enemies, so to speak, are among the crew members, and finding out who is on which side is an important element.

Phantom doesn’t make my top submarine movie list, but it’s watchable, especially when you like Harris and Duchovny.

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6 thoughts on “Phantom (2013) Sub Movie with a Russian Point of View

  1. Guy Savage says:

    Thanks Caroline: I hadn’t heard of this, so now I’m off to see if I can rent a copy.

    • I was so glad they didn’t speak in fake Russian accents but it took some getting used to, to accept the guys as being Russian. I really like Ed harris and the other actors. It’s an ok movie, not great but worth renting.

  2. the war movie buff says:

    I saw this in a theater with one other person. I do not know who greenlit this move but they must have been insane after the flopping of K-19. There was absolutely no market for it.

    It’s not a bad movie especially compare to the many terrible sub movies. That subgenre has a high rate of suckitude.

    The premise is ridiculous and to claim it was based on a true event is a howler.

    It is not too clicheish. The acting is okay with Harris putting more effort than the film deserves. Duchovny does poor job and is not a good foil for Harris. The set is commendable, but the special effects are low rent. It is also shaky in tactics.

    • I think we agree on this. Did you review it?
      Funny enough, I thought it hand an independent appeal but not quite. Maybe it would have been better if it had either been a much smaller scale or much bigger with special effects and all.
      I’m not sure the idea is too far fetched. Duchovny is an actor people like because of the X-Files, obviously but he’s not good, I agree. I liked the other two though.

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