Review by Dan Skip Allen
Black Crab is a film with a story and subject matter that is all too familiar to the world right now, specifically Eastern Bloc countries. Even though this film is fictional, it is very real for part of the world, namely Ukraine. They are going through unimaginable pain and suffering right now. A movie can't encapsulate what those people are going through, but it can try. The beginning of Saving Private Ryan came as close to resembling D-Day as any film before or since. That's an example of a movie that did a great job creating a war-like situation as any I've ever seen. This film tries to do that for a modern-day war.
After an invasion occurs in an unnamed Eastern Bloc country, thirty-seven years later, the whole of Europe is on the brink of destruction by an unknown enemy. The world is a post-apocalyptic landscape now. Noomi Repace plays a mom who gets recruited on a mission to potentially save Europe and the world. She and five others have to go on a life or death mission across a hundred miles of ice over an archipelago to deliver a package that could save everyone.
Rapace has made a career for herself of playing these types of female heroines in the United States and abroad. Her breakout role as Lisbeth Salander has allowed her to choose any and all roles she thinks are good for her career. Roles in Prometheus and last year's Lamb have shown she's not that indiscriminate on what she chooses, though. I, for one, am always happy when I see her name in the credits of a film. She's usually worth the price of admission.
Military films like this with a life or death mission can be good, but sometimes the plot and script can be a bit much to believe. This film has a plausible story, especially during this difficult time in the world. The whole device of one person making it to deliver a talisman to save the world has been a bit overdone. It all depends on how the film is directed and brought to the populace if it's any good or not. Using a MacGuffin to move the plot forward is always very risky.
Black Crab has a good cast of European actors besides Repace to round out its cast. Netflix has chosen to release the film with dubs not to turn off American audiences. In some cases, this is a bad idea, but it was a good idea here. American audiences know how to digest their action movies without reading them. This film works better that way from my perspective. I enjoyed it better without subtitles this time around.
The film moves at a pretty good pace considering its two-hour run time. The stops and starts help move the story forward but still slow the film down during those times. If some of these slower moments were cut from the film, it would move at a more brisk pace. There are just too many of these stops that keep derailing the action scenes that the film needs. Overall, it's not a bad film despite this problem with the length and stops and starts.
This film has a pretty good premise that is very topical to the world, especially Eastern Europe. Noomi Repace gives another solid performance in a movie that may not get eyes on it if she were not in it. The rest of the cast is fine as well. The direction by Adam Berg is very good. He had to deal with terrible conditions, and despite that, the film still looks and sounds very good. Netflix has invested in this film, and I think it'll pay off. It's a solid action film with a good premise and story.
Black Crab is now streaming on Netflix.