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On board a nuclear-armed Soviet submarine that has gone missing during the cold war, the battle-tested captain (Harris) and a rogue KGB agent (Duchovny) wage a life-and-death game of cat and mouse...with nuclear armageddon hanging in the balance. Starring four-time Academy Award® nominee Ed Harris, Golden Globe® winner David Duchovny (TV’s The X-Files) and William Fitchner (Armageddon.)
Movie Reviews from Rotten Tomatoes
- Reviews Counted: 55
- Fresh: 14
- Rotten: 41
- Average Rating: 4.6/10
Top Critics' Reviews
Rotten: The basis for the film's confusing, cliche-stuffed plot is the mysterious sinking of a Soviet submarine in 1968 - an event around which Mr. Robinson spins a yarn of unpardonable monotony.
Rotten: As one might expect from a submarine drama, Phantom is claustrophobic and confining. If only it were compelling.
Rotten: What is up with combinations of Ed Harris, water, and unbelievably hokey endings?
Rotten: Phantom offers no more plausible a vision of the doomed K-129 than A Good Day to Die Hard does of post-meltdown Chernobyl.
A COLD WAR THRILLER THAT'S MORE TEDIOUS THAN TENSE
"Phantom" has a promising deep sea premise that just so happens to be "inspired by true events," but this waterlogged Cold War submarine thriller isn't as engaging as it appears to be. It fictionalizes the real-life drama aboard a Soviet vessel with a covert mission and a captain (Ed Harris) who's haunted by past secrets on his last voyage before retirement. But when a rogue KGB agent (David Duchovny) violently takes over the submarine in an attempt to fulfill a hidden agenda to ignite nuclear war, it's up to the captain and his few loyal crew members to put a stop to the evil plans before it's too late. The film's claustrophobic setting does garner some real suspense at times, and the cast is well-assembled, but there's simply no saving the tired, lackluster script, which is filled with flat characters, wooden dialogue, and a ton of clumsy twists that leave little to the imagination. The few scenes that actually do carry some high-stakes tension are almost immediately overshadowed by endless amounts of repetitive melodrama that do nothing to pick up the movie's already dreary pace. Had it been given better direction and a more focused screenplay, "Phantom" certainly could've turned out to be a riveting historical drama, but as it stands, it's a bland and mostly forgettable suspense-thriller that hardly makes the most of its big premise and talented set of actors. If you're a fan of submarine flicks, you might enjoy it, but for everyone else, it's probably just best to steer clear of this one.
Thank God for Ed Harris....
As usual, Ed Harris gives an excellent performance. Supporting cast members William Fichtner and David Duchovny also are good. Beyond that, the movie is tedious, confusing, and not worth the time.
I was very impressed with this movie.