Das Boot - Jürgen Prochnow

Das Boot is a classic submarine movie of WW2 starring Jürgen Prochnow. Its title in English is simply The Boat.

The movie was originally six separate parts of 45 minutes each, a long mini-series. Even the shorter version has immense power, though, as it tells its tale. You start with a fresh crew of sailors, eager to be out on an exciting mission in a submarine. The sub is full of food, the crew is full of good cheer, and everybody is optomistic.

Over time, the crew settles into a routine. The food gets old and mouldy. The sicknesses set in. Being in cramped quarters with the same group of people starts to grate on nerves. And blowing up the enemy is no longer so much fun when you realize the nasty perils of war on the seas - of the long, slow death of drowning.

The crew tests its skills to every limit - plunging to unheard of depths as the ship threatens to implode on them, going to the ends of the earth. Soon the crew can think of nothing but getting back to a safe harbor, but there is yet more asked of them.

Jurgen Prochnow is brilliant as the captain of this sub, trying to keep his crew together and fulfill his mission. Wolfgang Peterson is brilliant as a director, really drawing you into this world that few people have experienced, building up the claustrophibia and pressure and close-contact situation until you can truly believe in it.

While some movies build excitement with violent bloody scenes and gigantic car chases, Das Boot does it in a far more meaningful way - with intense pressure and situations that you can really relate to. There aren't gigantic aliens drooling slime here. There are men trapped in a sub, thousands of feet beneath the surface of the water, and the only air they have to breathe is the air in the tiny metal container they live in.

It really makes you appreciate being up in the world, able to walk down the street, able to breathe fresh air. We should all give a tip of our hats to the sailors and submariners of the world, and the things they go through. The Germans were not "the enemies" here - they were just soldiers, doing their duty, and hoping to get home alive in the end.


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