Picks and Pans Review: Submerged
Take 'er down a few fathoms and you can't go too far wrong. As U-571 reminded us last summer, a submarine drama doesn't have to be great to hook an audience. The latest example is this workmanlike TV movie based on Peter Maas's 1999 book The Terrible Hours. It recounts a 1939 incident in which the USS Squalus sank during an exercise off Portsmouth, N.H.
The only hope for the 33 surviving crew members is a rescue operation led by Lt. Cmdr. Charles "Swede" Momsen (Sam Neill), a droll, ukulele-playing maverick. Swede argues with an admiral (James B. Sikking) but otherwise goes about his business. The sub's captain (Shea Whigham) is composed and decisive, and his missus (The West Wing's Emily Procter) is a shining example of the Navy wife. Characterization is thin, surprises are few. But the tension will hold you till those sailors surface.
Bottom Line: Shipshape, if unspectacular