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The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

Nonsensical submarine war film Phantom will make audience members cry ‘S.O.S.’

The+new+film+Phantom+starring+Ed+Harris+claims+to+be+a+suspenseful+thriller+%E2%80%9Cbased+on+actual+events.%E2%80%9D+The+reality+is+a+film+that+wants+to+be+meaningful+but+instead+sacrifices+clarity%2C+character+and+story+development%2C+not+to+mention+actual+sense.+%0APhoto+courtesy+RCR+Media+Group+
The new film Phantom starring Ed Harris claims to be a suspenseful thriller “based on actual events.” The reality is a film that wants to be meaningful but instead sacrifices clarity, character and story development, not to mention actual sense. Photo courtesy RCR Media Group

By Taylor Jensen/entertainment editor

The new film Phantom starring Ed Harris claims to be a suspenseful thriller “based on actual events.” The reality is a film that wants to be meaningful but instead sacrifices clarity, character and story development, not to mention actual sense.  Photo courtesy RCR Media Group
The new film Phantom starring Ed Harris claims to be a suspenseful thriller “based on actual events.” The reality is a film that wants to be meaningful but instead sacrifices clarity, character and story development, not to mention actual sense.
Photo courtesy RCR Media Group

A submarine, melodramatic writing, nonexistent clarification plus needless violence and sentiment equals one headache and the movie Phantom.

The film begins with Cold War Capt. Demi (Ed Harris) who postpones his retirement for one last classified mission on a Soviet missile submarine. Demi, still desperately trying to escape his successful father’s shadow, is forced to subdue his haunting past as well as a KGB radical played by David Duchovny.

The entire American cast supposedly portrays noble Russian sailors. However, Demi constantly drinks, but never vodka, and not a single Russian accent comes forth.

Believe it or not, this just begins the confusion one feels when watching Phantom. 

Although a great actor, Harris’ character constantly mumbles corny lines and undergoes increasingly lame flashbacks. Duchovny somehow loses his trademark sarcasm and charm and instead shells out three-word responses. He is quite possibly engaged in a personal challenge to see how long he can go without blinking.

The audience desperately wants an interesting dynamic between the two, but they never deliver. After all, Duchovny’s character is dangerous, angry and wants to start a war because America is just too powerful for its own good, and Demi is a godly man with something to prove who speaks easily on the integrity of the American nation, you know, because he went there once.

With few, sporadic shots of the ocean and the vessel, it seems the director forgets the action is supposed to take place on a submarine. Technical submarine jargon— accompanied by awkward definitions delved out by the crew—is about the only thing you can count on. It leaves the viewer wondering why they desired accuracy in their delivery of submarine terms but not in anything else.

Violence suddenly makes an appearance out of nowhere after Duchovny’s character decides to mean business and takes off his shirt. That is followed by an ending that wants the viewer to cry so bad, I’m surprised no one whipped out a violin.

This film makes no sense, at all. At one point Harris becomes frustrated and asks, “Maybe you’d like to tell us what we’re risking our lives for.” Maybe they’d like to tell the audience why they’re watching this movie? Not a chance. That would be too simple. Instead, Duchovny’s character eventually explains the mission when he asks, “Have you heard of an American program called DarkStar? It’s a fully synchronized system of endo-atmospheric antiballistic missiles guided by highly accurate radar.” Yeah, no, DarkStar, I’ve totally heard of that. I tweeted about it last week.

Phantom claims a lot of things, but the worst is that it’s a thriller. It doesn’t thrill, and it is about as effective in its approach as a made-for-TV-movie. It is undoubtedly a submarine film that disappoints just as fast as it sinks. Glub-glub.

 

Final Take: Phantom has no twists or suspense, and by the time its intentions are revealed, you couldn’t care less.

Those who would enjoy it: Those who don’t want their movies to make any actual sense.

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