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Laramie Movie Scope:
Crimson Tide

A white-knuck Clancy-like military thriller

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by Robert Roten, Film Critic
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May 16, 1995 -- ``Crimson Tide'' is a high-tension Tom Clancy-like thriller about high-tech submarine warfare. Director Tony Scott (``Top Gun'') really cranks up the suspense and keeps it there for a long time in this white-knuckler. I liked the way the film builds its drama with fake CNN reports, direct references to earlier submarine movies like ``The Enemy Below,'' and stirring Victory at Sea-type music.

The story is not so far-fetched. A certain crazy, militaristic Russian politician with a bunch of military followers take over some nuclear missiles and submarines. The U.S.S. Alabama crew, led by Captain Ramsey (Gene Hackman) and his new, untested, executive officer, Hunter (Denzel Washington), are sent out to destroy the missiles, if necessary, before they can be launched against U.S. targets. The plot gets very complex, when, through a series of equipment malfunctions and disagreements, Hunter is forced to relieve Captain Ramsey of command. This leaves the crew divided and leads to a mutiny.

There is a violent disagreement on the submarine about whether a missile launch should be carried out immediately or whether the crew should wait for confirmation of a second order. Both sides have very legitimate arguments and the film doesn't take sides.

Reportedly director Quentin Tarantino added some funny ``Star Trek'' and comic book references to the script. While they were funny, I thought them a bit distracting. The ending of the film is a bit of a letdown, but the balance of the film is both thought-provoking and suspenseful. The movie rates an A-.

Click here for links to places to buy this movie in video and/or DVD format, the soundtrack, books, even used videos, games and lots of other stuff. I suggest you shop at least two of these places before buying anything. Prices seem to vary continuously. For more information on this film, click on this link to The Internet Movie Database. Type in the name of the movie in the search box and press enter. You will be able to find background information on the film, the actors, and links to much more information.

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Robert Roten can be reached via e-mail at my last name at lariat dot org. [Mailer button: image of letter and envelope]

(If you e-mail me with a question about this or any other movie or review, please mention the name of the movie you are asking the question about, otherwise I may have no way of knowing which film you are referring to)