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NY1 Movie Review: "Phantom"

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A new thriller called "Phantom", set during the Cold War and set aboard a Soviet nuclear submarine, stars Ed Harris and David Duchovny. NY1's Neil Rosen filed the following movie review.

Ed Harris and David Duchovny star in a new thriller set aboard a submarine during the cold war called "Phantom".

Based on true events that happened in 1968, Harris plays the captain of an old Russian submarine. Both he and the sub are given one last seemingly routine mission. But all is not as it appears when Duchovny comes on board claiming he's doing a research project.

Pretty soon, it becomes clear that Duchovny has other objectives. He's really a KGB agent who wants to go rogue and start World War III. How does he plan on doing that? Well, there's this new technology that the Russians have gotten their hands on that camouflages a submarine's identity.

Duchovny wants to launch nuclear missiles on the U.S., have America think that's it's the Chinese government that's responsible for the attack, and have them battle each other to nuclear annihilation. Meanwhile, Russia, who's really responsible, would sit on the sidelines and become the world's sole superpower.

It's an interesting story that could have made a good movie, if it were in the right filmmaker's hands. But unfortunately, writer/director Todd Robinson doesn't really have a flair for telling this tale.

To begin with, a bad decision was made to have the entire cast talk with American accents. It's so off skew that it's hard to believe that this Soviet crew isn't part of the U.S. Navy.

Harris' character has epilepsy, and he's also haunted by the past. It's a subplot that's never fully developed, and it interferes with the main story.

To be fair, Robinson is working with a limited budget. But even so, he doesn't compensate in other areas, like the screenplay, which is all over the place.

Harris gives it a good shot, while Duchovny is miscast. And even though there are moments where the director does manage to generate interest and some tension, like when Duchovny character seizes control of the ship. it's just not enough.

Neil Rosen's NY1 Big Apple Rating Scale: 2 apples

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