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This  movie is a real throwback. It's not just that it's a WW II film but its style is very much like those made in the 40's that would have starred John Wayne.  In U-571, Matthew McConaughey stars in the John Wayne role as the sensitive submarine officer thrust into command in the worst of circumstances. As the film opens, McConaughey learns in quick succession that he has been passed over for a promotion to command his own sub, and that he must ship out on a secret mission with the Captain (Bill Paxton) who recommended that he wasn't ready for promotion.  The secret mission is to camouflage their American sub as a German sub and capture a real U-boat along with its super-secret Enigma coding machine.  In the last few years, many books and documentaries have been devoted to the once secret Enigma and its importance during WW II so it's a bit weird that someone would write a completely fictional account of how the Allies obtained it.  As most people know, the British got hold of one of the machines very early in the war and subsequently were able to decode most of the German and Japanese messages.  Obtaining it had nothing to do with submarines. No mention of the real facts is made in U-571 where we are given the idea that the United States (what a surprise) was responsible for getting the Enigma machine and thereby changing the course of the war.  But I digress. Facts aside, this is a straight ahead action movie with very little time out for character development or sensitive moments.  In a typical bonding scene between McConaughey  and ``The Chief'' played to the hilt by Harvey Keitel, the Chief says,``I'm a Sea Dog, Sir. I need some salt.'' If you want a sensitive submarine move then rent Das Boot although U-571 spends a lot of effort to give you the look and feel Das Boot.  The most interesting possible relationship, between McConaughey and Paxton, doesn't develop because, in order to thrust McConaughey into command, Paxton has to be eliminated early on in the movie.  In fact, it's good that we aren't attached to any of the characters because during the very dark, very rainy scene where they attack the German U-boat, three quarters of the crew are killed and we aren't sure who is alive and who isn't except for poor Bill Paxton, of course, who we see sink heroically below the waves. Much later, I realized that Jon Bon Jovi, who plays one of the officers, seemed to be among the missing.  Nevertheless, this movie works quite well as an action flick and carries the audience along with its momentum.  The cast is good too. McConaughey is always likable and here he is quite believable as the commander who cares about his crew but has to put them in harm's way.  Harvey Keitel is, well, Harvey Keitel as always. Bill Paxton, forever famous in geekdom for his role as Hudson (``Game over, man'') in Aliens, doesn't get to do much here except look stoic. The rest of the crew including Bon Jovi and Erik Palladino (Dr. Dave on ER) do a good job of sweating and looking around anxiously as depth charges continually explode around the sub.  The presence of John Wayne would have given me more confidence in the success of their mission but they do OK without him.