Those acquainted with the destiny of the Russian nuclear submarine Kursk, which sank in the Barents Sea throughout a 2000 naval train, will already know the way Thomas Vinterberg’s “The Command” ends. Perhaps that’s one cause the movie, based mostly on a 2002 e book by the journalist Robert Moore about the incident, prioritizes emotion over narrative — specializing in the stress, solidarity, and desperation of the vessel’s crew, even because it skims previous story developments which will assist us higher perceive what, precisely, is occurring.
As the officer in cost, and a profession Navy man in love with the sea, Matthias Schoenaerts brings a melancholy physicality to his half: He strikes with the grace of a hero, however has the unhappy eyes of a doomed romantic. Something related might be stated for Colin Firth, taking part in the British commodore whose gives of assist are rejected by the Russian authorities.
The Kursk incident was an early humiliation for Vladimir Putin’s government, showcasing officials’ stasis and carelessness, and revealing that the country’s poverty extended to its military. (An early scene shows the Kursk’s crew selling their watches to help pay for champagne at a colleague’s wedding.) “The Command” duly stokes our outrage, showing us the agonizing back-and-forth between Western powers eager to help and Russian officials too proud, and perhaps too paralyzed, to accept any assistance. But it works best when it remains fixed on the individuals at the heart of this tragedy. The fine cast keeps us engaged, even if the film sometimes loses the narrative thread.
Rated PG-13 for jovial drunkenness and terrible things happening underwater. Running time: 1 hour 57 minutes.