Das Boot: The Director's Cut DVD Review
PictureA few exterior underwater shots look grainy, but otherwise this is in fine, fine shape - black blacks and strong colours (incidentally, this tops the US transfer by some margin and is also dual layer - a rare Region 2 disc considerably better than its Region 1 counterpart). Chapter 4,12.00 sees sparks fly at the dockyard (sound is good here too), a great feel for a deep sea storm can be found as they sight a German U-boat in chapter 29, 1.22.19, The legendary high speed tracking shot down the length of the hull is in chapter 32 at 1.31.05 and fire in the hole breaks out in chapter 35 at 1.39.50. Check out the stunning editing with your slo-mo in chapter 37 at 1.48.28 as the depth charges explode, and the exterior shots as the sub comes under massive fire in chapter 50, starting at 2.30.13, looks sensational.
SoundThis remastered soundtrack has yet to be bettered - it is truly stupendous, and adds so much to the whole experience of Das Boot. Every moment is masterful, but the best sequences start with chapters 18-21, 49.20-1.05.03 when a destroyer is sighted (just listen to the dripping water in the surrounds as the crewmen hold their breath, or the ominous creeks from the hull in chapter 21, 59.30). In chapter 32 (the attack on Allied ships), the faintest and deepest of booms signifying that a torpedo has been launched while the captain is up top. An agonising 20 minute stretch from chapters 33-39 starting at 1.36.20 deals with the Allied revenge - the U-boat dives deep and the bolts start to blow during chapter36 1.47.37. After this, the next big shock comes as the boat tries to slip between Gibralter and Africa and comes under sudden fire during chapter 50, starting at 2.30.13, and the air raid occurs in chapter 65, at 3.11.27. Awesome, every second.
ExtrasA three hour plus commentary takes some getting through but it's an entertaining listen. This is Petersen's hour, and he revels in the chance to spin many a wild and engaging tale with much candid honesty, joined principally by co-star Prochnow. Once you've heard how it was all done, you get to see some of it in the production featurette, which gives a rare glimpse of the custom made camera, the huge gimbal the main set was built on and an awful lot of water. A theatrical trailer concludes a fine package.