The Command [Blu-Ray] (2019)
DVD Movie Guide @
Review Archive:  # | A-C | D-F | G-I | J-L | M-O | P-R | S-U | V-Z | Viewer Ratings | Main


Thomas Vinterberg
Matthias Schoenaerts, Léa Seydoux, Colin Firth
Writing Credits:
Robert Rodat

As the sailors fight for survival, their families desperately battle political obstacles and impossible odds to save them.

Rated PG-13.

Aspect Ratio: 2.40:1
English DTS-HD MA 5.1
Supplements Subtitles:

Runtime: 118 min.
Price: $22.99
Release Date: 8/6/2019

• “Human Costs” Featurette
• Previews


-LG OLED65C6P 65-Inch 4K Ultra HD Smart OLED TV
-Marantz SR7010 9.2 Channel Full 4K Ultra HD AV Surround Receiver;
-Panasonic DMP-BD60K Blu-Ray Player
-Chane A2.4 Speakers
-SVS SB12-NSD 12" 400-watt Sealed Box Subwoofer


The Command [Blu-Ray] (2019)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (July 28, 2019)

Based on a true story, 2019’s The Command offers a tale of naval disaster and survival. Set in August 2000, the Russian sub K-141 Kursk participates in a military exercise in the Barents Sea.

During this event, an explosion occurs on the sub, and this sinks the Kursk. Initially the authorities back in Russia assume all aboard failed to survive this disaster, but they soon learn otherwise.

Above water, families of the sub’s inhabitants struggle with the Russian government in regard to rescue attempts. With lives on the line, this becomes battle against the clock – and against bureaucracy - to save the stranded sailors.

Over to the left of this text, you’ll see a box that reads “Related Reviews”. Logically, this should link to another submarine-based film, or at least one that takes place underwater.

Instead, I opted to feature 1995’s Apollo 13. Whereas it took place in space and not in the sea, it shared so many thematic and structural components with Command that I felt it came across as a cinematic sibling.

A much better-made cinematic sibling, unfortunately, as Command fails to approach the glories of Ron Howard’s classic. While I appreciate aspects of the 2019 film, it seems less compelling than one might anticipate given the literal life or death subject matter.

And this doesn’t occur due to familiarity with the subject matter. If I knew about the Kursk disaster in 2000, I forgot about it, so the events depicted here come to me without foreknowledge of the eventual outcome.

Not that this awareness dooms a movie to failure, of course. I knew that Jim Lovell and pals would wind up safely back on Earth but that made Apollo 13 no less thrilling.

Given the material at hand, Command should muster similar levels of tension and impact, but instead, it comes with a mystifying lack of power. Not that I find myself disinterested in the fate of the sailors, but I just don’t feel as invested as I should.

After a wedding-based opening that seems inspired by 1978’s Deer Hunter, we go to the same three-pronged dramatic approach used in Apollo 13. This means the film cuts among the sub itself, the families of the sailors, and the bureaucrats.

That structure makes sense, and it worked just fine in Apollo 13, but director Thomas Vinterberg doesn’t use it well. With so many mouths to feed, it takes a deft hand to satisfy on all fronts, and Vinterberg fails to do so.

As with Apollo 13, each domain comes with one character onto whom we should direct our attention. On the sub, we focus on sailor Mikhail Averin (Matthias Schoenaerts), and as a corollary, we concentrate on his wife Tanya (Léa Seydoux) as well. British Commodore David Russell (Colin Firth) represents the primary source of information connected to rescue attempts.

That’s three logical prongs of the narrative and three capable actors as well, but Vinterberg just doesn’t meld the threads in a pleasing way. The movie depicts the events in a competent manner but it never digs deep.

As a result, Command feels oddly unmoving. We should really care about the characters and what happens to them, but we don’t.

Again, it’s not that we lack any emotional interest, as we maintain a modest stake in various fates. Unfortunately, this never becomes as significant as it should, so we feel vaguely concerned at most.

Without a substantial bond between viewer and characters, The Command falls somewhat flat. Despite a compelling story at its core, the end result feels oddly unmoving.

The Disc Grades: Picture B+/ Audio B+/ Bonus C-

The Command appears in an aspect ratio of 2.40:1 on this Blu-ray Disc – mainly. The movie’s first 18 minutes, 10 seconds takes place on land and goes with a windowboxed 1.66:1 frame. After that it expands to the full 2.40:1.

Beyond the unconventional variations of aspect ratio, Command looked the way I expected. While most of the movie presented nice clarity, some interior shots looked a bit tentative, but only a tad.

That meant the majority of the flick appeared solid, and no signs of moiré effects or jaggies occurred. The movie also lacked edge haloes or print flaws.

In terms of palette, Command favored a combination of teal and amber, with an emphasis on the former. Those choices came as no surprise, and the Blu-ray reproduced them in a satisfactory manner.

Blacks showed strong depth, and shadows were good, with nice opacity and clarity. All of this was enough for a “B+” that lost points solely due to the occasional slightly soft shots.

I felt consistently pleased with the immersive DTS-HD MA 5.1 soundtrack of Command, as the soundscape offered frequent room for information to emanate from the various speakers.

The mix used those chances well. The soundtrack delivered auditory material that spread out across the speakers in a satisfying manner and that blended together nicely.

This meant an active track in which the surrounds kept the mix humming. Plenty of action moments made this an impressive soundfield that also brought out environmental elements nicely.

Audio quality satisfied, as speech was natural and concise, while music sounded lush and full. Effects turned into the primary factor, and those elements appeared accurate and vivid.

Bass response added real depth and rocked my subwoofer. Expect a strong sonic experience here.

A program entitled Human Costs runs 27 minutes, 44 seconds and includes comments from director Thomas Vinterberg, director of photography Anthony Dod Mantle, and actors Colin Firth, Matthias Schoenaerts and Léa Seydoux.

“Costs” examines facts and liberties, story and characters, cast and performances, sets, locations and photography, music, and overall thoughts. “Costs” becomes a pretty efficient overview of the production, albeit one that could use a little more depth.

The disc opens with ads for Hunter Killer, Hacksaw Ridge, The Yellow Birds, and USS Indianapolis: Men of Courage. No trailer for Command appears here.

A second disc brings a DVD copy of Command. It includes the “Costs” program as well.

Given the real-life drama of its events, The Command should pack an emotional punch. Unfortunately, it feels strangely flat and never draws in the viewer as it should. The Blu-ray offers very good picture and audio as well as an informative featurette. Though a competent film, The Command lacks the impact it needs.

Viewer Film Ratings: 2 Stars Number of Votes: 1
0 3:
View Averages for all rated titles.

Review Archive:  # | A-C | D-F | G-I | J-L | M-O | P-R | S-U | V-Z | Viewer Ratings | Main