A total waste of time....
ckeown | FL United States | 08/04/2002
(1 out of 5 stars)
"If I could give this movie a -1 star rating I would emphatically do so.With a poorly written script, mediocre acting (not the least of which is James Caan doggedly referring to sailors as "soldiers"), inacurate uniform details and an amazingly incompetent misportrayal of both Clayton Hartwig and Kendall Truitt this is easily the worst movie I have ever seen.I have often watched "real life dramas" made into movies and wondered how much is true and how much is "Hollywood". Well - I can say with absolute certainty and first hand experience that this movie is 99% Hollywood and 1% Truth.If you really want to know about what happened aboard the USS Iowa and why it may have happened you are much better off reading the book, "A Glimpse of Hell" (which still has its faults and problems, of course) and forgetting about this farce of a movie.Who am I? I am GMG3 Kendall Truitt's ex-wife and I lived this movie. Take my word for it - this movie stinks!"
A Glimpse of a Navy-created hell
Nicholas Carroll | Portland OR United States | 02/17/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Its obvious from watching this film that its a lower budget, made-for-cable movie that isn't bad, though could always stand to be better. Being a Navy veteran, I really appreciated seeing shipboard life on screen and how damage control drills are conducted. Unfortunately, most of the film depends upon the investigation into the explosion on the USS Iowa and that lacks suspense for the most part. Viewers don't feel the tension as they should, which a film like "Crimson Tide" was good at creating. That's probably due to the fact that this was a film with a lower budget and made for a cable station like TNT or something (instead of the higher quality HBO).
The biggest cringe-inducing moment for me was hearing the CO (James Caan) of the ship refer to people as "soldiers". In my five year enlistment, I've never heard anyone in the Navy refer to sailors and officers as "soldiers". The Navy looks down on the Army, and to call sailors that is not only degrading, but grossly inaccurate. If the producers of this film can't tell the difference between "soldiers" and "sailors", they shouldn't be making a movie about the Navy to begin with.
I thought it was interesting, the portrayal of NIS as being obsessed with finding homosexuals and blaming them for whatever goes wrong. That much seems accurate, and if people wonder why the Navy wanted to scapegoat its dead sailors, the film makes it clear. Careers are at stake, and there's nothing worse for an ambitious Commanding Officer who wishes to join the Admiral ranks than for something of that magnitude to happen on his ship. There is a law in the Navy that the CO goes down with his ship, accountability flows to the top. We've seen this most recently with the CO of the USS Greeneville--the submarine that surfaced right beneath a Japanese fishing boat in 2001. He couldn't deflect blame onto the lower ranks, because being CO means you take full responsibility.
This film was too short for my liking, as I would have enjoyed about 30 minutes more, if they added more tension into the screenplay. Most of the performances are one-dimensional and we only get brief hints at a friendship between two sailors that NIS thinks is gay, but viewers don't have enough scenes to make a decision either way. The dramatic moment for this film rests on whether the CO would agree with NIS' report blaming a dead sailor for the deed or would he stick out for his crew and admit that the real cause was accidental. After that "dramatic conclusion", the film wraps up pretty quickly, as the idealistic officer (played by former "Dead Poet" Robert Sean Leonard) is transferred off the ship. Like I said above, there could have been more scenes to heighten the tension, because this situation had real repercussions for the Navy at large. I believe the USS Iowa explosion is considered the most tragic and deadliest accident in our Navy's 230 year history, so there should have been more to this movie. All in all, its not bad...for a low budget, made-for-cable film. Still, a part of me would have liked to have seen what Hollywood could have done with a larger budget and a longer film with more tension throughout. I guess I'll have to just read the book to learn more."
A NARROW GLIMPSE AT THAT
Michael Butts | Martinsburg, WV USA | 01/23/2005
(3 out of 5 stars)
"While not trying to diminish the tragedy of the USS IOWA, A GLIMPSE OF HELL is a plodding, poorly written and uneventful adaptation of what happened aboard the USS Iowa in 1989.
Robert Sean Leonard delivers a sincere if self-absorbing performance as Dan Meyer, an ensign who achieves his lifelong dream of running the guns on a battleship, "the point of the sword" as he calls it. James Caan offers a competent but uninspiring performance as the ship's captain who is obviously heading for admiralcy soon. A tragic explosion on a test shoot claims the lives of 47 crew members and opens an investigation into the tragedy. Was it faulty equipment, poorly maintained ammunition, or as the NSI concludes, the murder/suicide of a supposedly homosexual gunner who wanted revenge on his lover? The movie offers no surefire answers and the events that follow the tragedy are minimized and no clearcut stance taken from the writer. The ensemble cast has its moments, particularly from Daniel Roebuck and whoever played Kendall Truitt.
Overall, a somber and sometimes interesting, but ultimately pointless movie."