Reviews provided by RottenTomatoes
New York Post:
It's in the second hour that this boat really gets rocking: Macdonald has torpedoes of conflict firing in every direction.
New York Observer:
Basically another tough genre workout that is all too familiar, with enough tension and violence to keep an audience alert if not riveted.
A sturdy little adventure, even when it goes enjoyably off-kilter in its last half-hour.
Despite rugged craft and a seaworthy ensemble, Kevin Macdonald's low-key submarine thriller never quite sparks to life.
Though the characters are at odds, the cast operates in perfect unison.
Some of the particulars don't add up, so much so that you do notice them even as the action plows forward. But it's still a thrilling ride.
J. R. Jones,
Screenwriter Dennis Kelly infuses all this with a heavy dose of proletarian rage, and Law exudes enough charisma in the lead role to supply the movie with one marginally likable character.
Handled artfully by Macdonald, whose earlier work includes "The Last King of Scotland," Dennis Kelly's script pulls bits and pieces from "The Treasure of the Sierra Madre," "The Wages of Fear" and its remake, "Sorcerer."
Christian Science Monitor:
I'm something of a sucker for submarine-movie cliches; watching this movie, I was happy the very first time I heard a disconcerting ping.
In the end, "Black Sea" is a taut warning about the evil allure of greed. It also makes clear why vacationing on submarines has never caught on.
Fort Worth Star-Telegram/DFW.com:
While the film doesn't cut nearly as deep as [the director's] The Last King of Scotland, it's nevertheless a suspenseful, taut thriller with political undertones that delivers on its low-key promises.
A semi-waterlogged confluence of the submarine and heist sub-genres which seeks to evoke a testosterone-soaked, 1970s feel.
Los Angeles Times:
Jude Law makes for an effective rogue submarine captain in "Black Sea," a fittingly immersive thriller, tautly directed by Kevin MacDonald.
San Jose Mercury News:
"Black Sea" is a good movie; Law turns in a great performance, and one walks away feeling that the characters and the scenery here are all convincing.
New York Times:
The story loses credibility as it goes along, as the body count escalates, and Robinson's solutions to life-and-death crises grow increasingly far-fetched. Well before it ends preposterously, "Black Sea" has taken leave of its senses.
The Cold War flavor gives Black Sea the feel of something that might have been made three decades ago.
Director Kevin Macdonald uses the Das Boot-like claustrophobia for maximum tension, then deadens the thrills with flashbacks. Ah, jeez.
San Francisco Chronicle:
As the perils mount, a certain momentum takes hold, though never quite enough to justify taking up two hours' space in your life.
Minneapolis Star Tribune:
Too often, moviegoers must choose between character-driven drama and edge-of-your-seat action. "Black Sea" has both, with a gripping performance by Jude Law as their nexus.
By no means a masterpiece, but a solid genre offering, a portrait of desperate men crammed together and surrounded on all sides by what one describes as "dark, cold death." What better way to escape the midwinter doldrums?
Gripping, smart and genuinely thrilling, Black Sea elevates itself above most other thrillers by how wisely and well it brings you down to the depths alongside its crew.
Old-fashioned storytelling values and zeitgeisty relevance make for a worthy addition to sub-aquatic cinema's nerve-juddering legacy.
Black Sea doesn't delve too far below the surface, but it is claustrophobic, compelling and suspenseful.
Black Sea is so almost-terrific that it's ultimately more disappointing than a movie that's merely badly or carelessly made.
The film's patina of richly textured grime lends the film a gloomy, claustrophobic beauty that serves its mood, as well as its satisfyingly misanthropic message ...
Wall Street Journal:
What makes the old tropes new enough to be frequently exciting ... is Mr. Law's portrayal of a desperate man renewing his lease on life, come what may.