Who would’ve thought that we’d see the perfect nautical-thriller film in 2018?
Hunter Killer runs just over two hours, and it’s endlessly thrilling throughout. It follows an American submarine, helmed by Captain Joe Glass (played by Gerard Butler), tasked with investigating a US ship which vanished mysteriously while tailing a Russian sub.
The stakes escalate very quickly when the Russian government is overthrown from within, and before they know it the crew are caught in a catch-22; risk starting a nuclear war or get torpedoed and die in the bottom of the Arctic Ocean.
The tension never relaxes throughout the entire film all building up to a massive pay-off. Things don’t go the way you expect them to go, and for every close-call, there’s an equally brutal death. It packs punches in all the right places, and at no point lulls.
At no point does Hunter Killer take itself too seriously – it knows exactly what it’s all about. There’s just the right amount of comic relief and campiness to give the film a heart, instead of being excessively militaristic.
Acting-wise, Gerard Butler is stoically charismatic in the lead role and Michael Nyqvist convincingly portrays a Russian captain in one of his final film roles before his untimely death. The surrounding cast including Linda Cardellini and, of course, Gary Oldman all do a stand-up job as well. Even rapper-turned-actor Common didn’t seem out of place as a Navy Admiral, but that could be because his dialogue was restricted to “Yes Admiral” and “Yes Madame President”. There were one or two unconvincing Russian accents, but it was all forgivable and lost among the underwater fights, ridiculous on-land Navy SEAL and sabotage sequences.
The only real downside of Hunter Killer is its name, which is laughably generic and will probably hurt it find an audience. Which is sad, because Hunter Killer is one of the most enjoyable films of the year.