Black Sea (film)

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Black Sea
File:Black Sea (film).jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed by Kevin Macdonald
Produced by
  • Charles Steel
  • Kevin Macdonald
Written by Dennis Kelly
Music by Ilan Eshkeri
Cinematography Christopher Ross
Edited by Justine Wright
Distributed by Focus Features
Release dates
  • 5 December 2014 (2014-12-05) (UK)
Running time
115 minutes[1]
  • United Kingdom[2]
  • United States[2]
Language English
Box office $1.2 million (US)[3]

Black Sea is a 2014 American-British disaster thriller film directed by Kevin Macdonald, written by Dennis Kelly, and starring Jude Law.[4] The film was released in the United Kingdom on 5 December 2014 and in the United States on 23 January 2015.[5]


Robinson (Jude Law), a veteran captain of under-sea salvage who is recently divorced and estranged from his young son, receives news that he is to be made redundant. He receives £8,000 for his services and is asked to clean his desk and leave the premises.

Later, while having a drink with some former colleagues, Robinson meets up with his friend Kurston and a Russian called Blackie (Konstantin Khabensky). Kurston informs the duo of a surefire way to make money. He tells them about a German Type VIIC[note 1] U-boat from World War II that sank off the coast of the country of Georgia with a cargo of gold worth millions and how their former employer found the U-boat's location but was unable to salvage it due to the Russo-Georgian War. He also informs them both of a plan he has been working on to secretly recover the gold. After meeting with Kurston, Robinson agrees to meet with an unknown backer called Lewis.

Lewis agrees to fund Robinson's expedition on the grounds he receives a 40% split of the proceeds up to $40 million, a 20% cut on any amount above that, and that his executive Daniels (Scoot McNairy) accompany the expedition. Robinson agrees to the deal. Upon returning home Robinson finds a youth, Tobin, who notifies him of Kurston's suicide and indicates they were friends. Robinson takes the young man in and decides to bring him along on the expedition, and acquires a Foxtrot-class submarine from the Port of Sevastopol. The crew is 50% Russian and 50% British and almost immediately there are issues between the two groups. Only Blackie speaks Russian and English and the Russians view the young Tobin as a bad omen, mistakenly assuming he is a virgin when he is in fact an expecting father.

Due to the close confines, tension begins to mount between the two crews. Robinson makes the decision to split the take equally between each crewman. Due to the mounting pressures the crew fall out and there is a fight leading to Fraser (Ben Mendelsohn) losing his head and stabbing and killing Blackie. In the ensuing scuffle a fire breaks out and the sub is damaged leading to an explosion which knocks Robinson unconscious.

Robinson wakes up 18 hours later to find tensions at breaking point. The Russians have taken over half of the ship with the British in the other half. The ship is also badly damaged and they have no means to speak with the Russians as Blackie was killed. The sub's drive shaft is damaged but they discover they are close to the old U-boat and may be able to transfer its drive shaft and save the ship. Tensions continue to mount but Robinson discovers Morozov (Grigoriy Dobrygin) speaks English.

Robinson sends Tobin with Fraser and another diver to recover the drive-shaft and the gold. While making their way back, third diver (David Threlfall) perishes when his air hose gets cut. Through Morozov they manage to get the Russians to install the drive-shaft and get the sub moving again. At this stage Daniels admits to Robinson that his prior employer set them up such that they are being used to do the dangerous work, while the employer waits to seize the gold as soon as the submarine surfaces. They decide to remain submerged to try to keep the gold and avoid arrest, but while trying to evade the Russian navy they collide with an underwater ridge and come to a stop on the seafloor as the sub begins to take on water.

Fraser and the rest of the remaining crew try to repair the leaks but their efforts are futile. Before they can escape, a panicked Daniels locks the bulkhead behind him leaving them to drown but traps himself in the next compartment with his snagged clothing. Morozov closes the final bulkhead, protecting Robinson, Tobin, and himself in the torpedo section where Robinson has hidden three escape suits. Robinson evacuates Tobin and Morozov and explains to Tobin that he will follow in the third suit using an emergency lever. Both men surface whereupon Morozov informs the young Tobin that there was no emergency lever and that Robinson had chosen to sacrifice himself. Minutes later the third suit appears containing some of the gold and a picture of Robinson's family.



On 14 February 2012, news confirmed that director Kevin Macdonald was working with writer Dennis Kelly on his new film project Black Sea.[4] On 25 April 2013, Focus Features acquired the international distribution rights to the film for Cannes Film Festival, but when Focus Features International was shut down on 31 December 2013, Sierra / Affinity took over international sales for the film as Focus Features distribute the film and Kill the Messenger when it was announced on 5 February 2014.[8]


On 25 April 2013, Jude Law joined the cast of Black Sea as the lead actor.[6] Scoot McNairy joined the cast of the film on 17 June 2013 in the role of a sailor who convinces the captain to undertake a mission.[7]


On 8 August 2013, Focus Features CEO James Schamus and co-CEO Andrew Karpen announced that the shooting of the film Black Sea has started in the United Kingdom.[9][10] The filming of scenes took place on the River Medway in Strood.[11][12][13]


Black Sea was released on 5 December 2014 in British cinemas. It had a limited release in the US on 23 January 2015.[5]


Award Category Nominees Result
24th Courmayeur Noir Film Festival[14] Black Lion for Best Feature Kevin Macdonald Won

See also


  1. Based on Robinson studying plans for the U-651 to prepare for the expedition
  1. "BLACK SEA (15)". British Board of Film Classification. 22 October 2014. Retrieved 3 December 2014.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  2. 2.0 2.1 "Black Sea (2014)". British Film Institute. Retrieved 10 December 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  3. "Black Sea (2015)". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved 5 February 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  4. 4.0 4.1 "Kevin Macdonald travels to Black Sea and Eastern Europe". 14 February 2012. Retrieved 10 August 2013.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  5. 5.0 5.1 D'ALESSANDRO, ANTHONY (2 July 2014). "Focus Features To Bow 'Black Sea' In January". Retrieved 3 July 2014.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  6. 6.0 6.1 "Jude Law Joins Kevin Macdonald's Submarine Thriller 'Black Sea'". 25 April 2013. Retrieved 10 August 2013.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  7. 7.0 7.1 "Scoot McNairy Shores Up 'Black Sea' Role". 17 June 2013. Retrieved 10 August 2013.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  8. "Focus Acquires Hot Cannes Title 'Black Sea' With Kevin Macdonald Directing Jude Law". 25 April 2013. Retrieved 10 August 2013.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  9. "Filming Starts on Kevin MacDonald's Black Sea, Starring Jude Law". 8 August 2013. Retrieved 9 August 2013.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  10. "Black Sea starts shooting with Jude Law in the Skipper's Seat". 8 August 2013. Retrieved 9 August 2013.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  11. "Hollywood hunk Jude Law spotted filming in Medway". 8 August 2013. Retrieved 9 August 2013.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  12. "Actor Jude Law spotted filming Hollywood movie Black Sea on the River Medway in Strood". 8 August 2013. Retrieved 9 August 2013.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  13. Kent Film Office. "Kent Film Office Black Sea Article".<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  14. [1][dead link]

External links