***Some minor spoiler-ish bits.
Premise is interesting - there's been a sort of coup in the USSR and they have captured a nuclear silo complex. The US scrambles subs in the area in anticipation of a possible retaliatory strike, should the coup leader (who is saber rattling), order a strike on the US from that seized complex.
Gene Hackman plays a one dimensional character with some race-biased overtones, and Denzel Washington is (surprisingly) a bit stiff as the XO Hackman decides to appoint to replace his usual XO, who is sick.
I love subs and I love Cold War movies, so I can forgive some of the above. The sets are great and the appearance of some good supporting actors- including Viggo Mortensen - helps compensate. But after a while the flaws tend to grate. Hackman is too much the irritating, abrasive and haughty captain, who thinks he is God. For someone in the sub service, Washington seems almost meek and confused at points, until he very much ISN'T. When an order comes in to prepare for a potential launch and then the sub is damaged, leaving a subsequent order incomplete, Hackman and Washington come to odds.
I know it's Hollywood, but a feel a lot of disservice is done to submariners. So many of them seem either unsure, hysterical, emotional or mercenary. If you know something about the sub service, because of the nature of it candidates are heavily screened and trained. So the shrill sound of the radar operator's voice, or James Gandolfini verging on someone who is psychotic really beggars belief.
I won't play out the twists and turns, but things get VERY bad on board, with crew taking sides and even weapons drawn.
It is eventually resolved, and then comes the Naval review of the situation, which is just RIDICULOUS and just impossible to believe, really undermining the tension and making the Navy almost seem very corrupt. For a tantalizing idea, good actors and equally good sets and filming, the execution leaves a lot to be desired. Cleaned up, more realistic with appropriate tension and more depth to make the characters more relatable, this could be a banger of a thriller. As presented, it just doesn't do the trick.