This gripping 1995 submarine thriller represents the middle, transitional period of Scott's filmmaking, which saw an increasing interest in an expansive expressionism rich with cluttered, collage-like editing and images.
The submarine in Crimson Tide is like the jets, race cars, subway and train of Scott's other movies: an isolation chamber that challenges professional men (Denzel Washington's upstart, intellectual officer vs. Gene Hackman's conservative, old guard captain) to make sense of out of control, highly dangerous situations. Crimson Tide's submarine is pure pressure cooker, separated from the outside world and forcing its men to confront one another's understanding not only of morality but also of the very nature of reality itself—with the fate of the whole world being at stake. (Featuring notable punch-ups for the script's fiery exchanges by Tarantino and Robert Towne!) All within, of course, a relentless, claustrophobic psychodrama that concussively explodes in the underwater confines with gorgeously swathed, often stroboscopic colored lighting. The beginning of Scott's incredibly rich five film collaboration with Denzel Washington.
Director: Tony Scott. 116 min. 1995. 35mm.
Preceded by Stan Brakhage's ode to the painted frame, Night Music (1986).
Part of the series The Great Scott. Co-presented by MUBI.com
Ticket Price: $12, Film Club Member: $8.
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