Hell and high water are a setup for genre adventure that Black Sea only partially delivers. But in Hollywood’s slack season, we’ll take what we can get. Greed makes a great plot catalyst. And director Kevin Macdonald (The Last King of Scotland) uses Dennis Kelly’s script to shoehorn The Treasure of the Sierra Madre into a submarine. Jude Law, looking grizzled, excels as Robinson, a former sub captain who has spent the past decade doing drudge work for an ocean salvage company. When the bastards fire him, Robinson leads other downsized mates on what they think is a treasure hunt.
The plan, hatched by money man Daniels (Scoot McNairy), is to salvage gold ingots from a Nazi U-boat on the floor of the Black Sea. The crew of Brits and Russkies is joined by Aussie diver Fraser (Ben Mendelsohn), the top nut job in a crew of crazies.
Macdonald uses the Das Boot-like claustrophobia for maximum tension, then deadens the thrills with flashbacks to Robinson and his estranged wife. Ah, jeez. Law and the scrappy cast work best when submerged and going at one another like beasts.