U-571 – 4K UHD & BLU-RAY

U-571 4K UHD & BLU-RAY - McConaughey's wartime thriller!

Jonathan Mostow’s thriller ‘U-571’ (2000) was the story of a team of U.S. soldiers  sent on a mission to sneak aboard a disabled German U-Boat (a submarine) to steal an encryption device( the famous Enigma code breaking device)  that would give the Allies the edge they need to win the war. What they don’t know is… Germans are on their way to answer the S.O.S. as well. It’s an engrossing and suspense filled story but there’s clearly an unintended irony where this U-571 4K UHD / blu-ray version begins with an on screen disclaimer that reads ‘This film has outdated attitudes, language and cultural depiction, which may cause offense today’ because at the time what did cause offence was that it was actually the British who recovered the enigma device.

Mostow was ideal as the director of a taught thriller having made the excellent but under rated thriller ‘Breakdown’ in 1997 and the film had taken him eight years to get to the screen having always had an interest in Submarines and was further peaked on a visit he made to an actual submarine in a San Francisco dry dock and he would go on to co-write the film with David Ayer who was yet to start directing for a few years yet.

U-571 had an interesting cast led by Matthew McConaughey who only six years previously had escaped the straight to video horror of ‘The Return of the Texas Chainsaw Massacre’ and had made it to leading man status with A Time to Kill, Contact and Ed TV though none were really big hits. But he had solid support from co-stars that included the late Bill Paxton, Harvey Keitel and in a bid to attract a younger audience, Jon Bon Jovi, who had been cast in minor roles in a handful of films but this was a more significant step up and was shorn of his poodle perm.

Taking its cue from the daddy of all submarine flicks, ‘Das Boot’ the production built its own replica submarine in fact it would build two, that would be filmed in one of the largest studio water tanks in the world with one of the largest rain tower rigs too. It all added to an authentic feel with U-571  being in turn thrilling, claustrophobic and often tense story for  younger audiences not familiar with the outcome of the real life story. The film was a moderate success and was twice oscar nominated winning its only Oscar for Best Sound editing. For Mostow the film success would lead to him helming Terminator 3

U-571 has now had a stunning new 4K restoration which looks great and this release has the following bonus features :

Behind the Scenes
Featurette: Construction of U-571
Featurette: Capture of U-110
Interview with Jonathan Mostow
Interview with Matthew McConaughey
Interview with Jon Bon Jovi
Interview with Bill Paxton
Audio Commentary with director Jonathan Mostow

The interviews are those from the original DVD release as are the featurettes of which one is Mostow chatting to David Balme, the naval commander who, along with his team really did capture the enigma machine. But it’s the commentary from Mostow that is new and is very good packed with a load of great behind the scenes stories. Now over twenty years later U-571 has been forgotten but it is one of McConaughey’s better films and is as riveting today as it was on its original theatrical release.

related feature; Why Jonathan Mostow’s Terminator 3 is better than you think

related feature: The stars and director of true life WWII film ‘Operation Mincemeat’ answer the audiences questions !

Here’s the U-571 trailer……

U-571 is released on 4K UHD and BLU-RAY on 25th September 2023


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