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An American naval submarine crew is given the mission of intercepting and taking control of a German U-Boat and capturing an Enigma cipher machine.
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Set during World War II, during the battle of the Atlantic, Matthew McConaughey stars in one of his best roles yet as Lt. Andrew Tyler, the Executive Officer of the U.S. Naval crew who intercepts the German U-Boat. The film begins with a grand party, where Lt. Tyler believes he is about to receive his own boat and be deemed captain. However, he quickly learns from his Captain, Mike Dahlgren (Bill Paxton) that he will not be receiving his own boat, at least not yet. Captain Dahlgren believes Lt. Tyler is simply not ready because he is not ready to sacrafice his own men for the sake of America.
While at the party, the Naval crew gets word to assemble and be ready to ship out on a very secretive mission. It is not until they are on board and on their way that the mission of intercepting the German Enigma machine is revealed. Obviously, the mission is very dangerous and also very important to the Allies success in the Atlantic. The men are aware the outcome for them may not be good, but the leadership of Captain Dahlgren, Lt. Tyler, and Chief Henry Klough (Harvey Keitel) assure the men all will not be lost, and there mission will succeed.
This film, in my opinion, is one of the best war films of all time. From the Oscar-winning sound effects to the brilliant acting by Matthew McConaughey and Harvey Keitel, this film gives the viewer a true sense of the fear and finality of war. As the men sit on this U-Boat, knowing that several of their crew members have already perished, I could feel the gut-wrenching fear they experienced. With every eerie echo of the sonar sound, knots begin to twist and turn in one's stomach, and I gained a greater sense of appreciation for the men and women who have served in war. McConaughey's brilliant performance allowed the viewer to see the internal fear our military leaders experienced during World War II, and in the same breath, see the external confidence necessary to lead our men to victory.
Every scene was very well written and had purpose, and the realistic nature of this film allows the viewer to gain a truthful glimpse of what our American soldiers experienced during World War II. With a brilliant cast that includes McConaughey, Paxton, Keitel, and rock legend Jon Bon Jovi, brilliant screenwriting, fantastic acting, and gut wrenching realism, U-571 proves to be a brilliant war movie, and a must see!