Movie Review: 'Phantom' -- 2.5 stars
Directed by Todd Robinson
Starring Ed Harris, David Duchovny, William Fichtner
From "Das Boot" to "Crimson Tide," the best submarine movies draw on the tension spurred by an extended period spent languishing in claustrophobic quarters deep below the sea. In the world of the sub flick, the ocean is like the woods at night, a mysterious outdoors filled with hidden terrors.
The Soviet crew at the center of Todd Robinson's "Phantom," a drama based on true events and set at the height of the Cold War in 1968, has radar and a periscope, of course, but the men are basically flying blind, with Captain Demi (Ed Harris) and his crew assigned to an old B67 nuclear sub for an unclear mission. To make matters worse, KGB officer Bruni (David Duchovny) joins them for reasons he won't reveal.
At sea, where Bruni's intentions become known, the crew discovers that it controls nothing less than the fate of the world in its hands. Demi and Bruni face off in the sort of classic insubordinate struggle we've come to expect from these movies.
But the high-stakes struggle is perilously undercooked and lacking dramatic flair. We get stern orders, dry technospeak and the occasional physical incident, but far less than what's required in such an apocalyptic setting.