In Enemy Hands (film)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
In Enemy Hands
In Enemy Hands FilmPoster.jpeg
Directed byTony Giglio
Produced byArtisan Entertainment
Splendid Pictures
StarringWilliam H. Macy
Til Schweiger
Thomas Kretschmann
Scott Caan
Lauren Holly
Jeremy Sisto
Ian Somerhalder
Music bySteven Bramson
CinematographyGerry Lively
Edited byPeter Mergus
Harvey Rosenstock
Distributed byArtisan Entertainment
Lions Gate Entertainment
Release date
  • 25 February 2004 (2004-02-25)
Running time
94 minutes
CountryUnited States
Box office$64,236[1]

In Enemy Hands is a 2004 American submarine film directed by Tony Giglio and starring William H. Macy, Til Schweiger, Thomas Kretschmann, Scott Caan and Lauren Holly. The film follows an American submarine crew getting captured by a German submarine crew and taken prisoner aboard their U-boat.


The movie begins with old film footage of World War II with a narrator explaining that Germany produced hundreds of U-boats to control the Atlantic. In 1942, groups of U-boats known as "wolfpacks" sank over 1,000 Allied ships. The Germans began winning the war and if they continue destroying the Allies, Europe will fall. In 1943, Roosevelt and Churchill declared that stopping the U-boats was their main priority. With new technology and the United States committed to the war, the Allies begin destroying the U-boats and bringing an end to the wolfpacks.

In June 1943, Lt. Cmdr. Randall Sullivan (Caan) talks about his upcoming mission with Admiral Kentz (Berkeley). Kentz asks about Sullivan's COB Nathan Travers (Macy) and says he's a good man and Sullivan could learn something from him and bids Sullivan farewell. Meanwhile, Travers prepares to leave home as his wife Rachel (Holly) makes him promise to come home safe. Two months later, Travers is on board the fictional USS Swordfish (based on the real submarine USS Swordfish in World War II), captained by Sullivan where they do constant drill exercises. Meanwhile, the fictional U-429 (based on the real U-429 submarine), captained by Jonas Herdt (Schweiger), momentarily survives a depth charge attack by an American destroyer and sinks it. After playing chess with his First Watch Officer Ludwig Cremer (Kretschmann), Jonas receives a message from home that Hamburg got bombed, where his daughter's school was destroyed and there were no survivors, implying that she died. On the Swordfish, XO Teddy Goodman (Gregg) becomes increasingly sick with a rash on his stomach, which the doctor believes is meningitis, a contagious disease that can be fatal in some cases. Unknown to the crew, Sullivan has a rash on his arm, showing that he's contracted meningitis as well. Another U-boat, the U-821, sinks the British merchant vessel Achilles. As there hasn't been any U-boat activity in the area for a while, the USS Swordfish, as the closest Allied vessel, goes to investigate.

Radio operator Virgil Wright (Huntington) hears music played by Glenn Miller coming from the U-821, and Sullivan prepares the crew to attack. The U-821's radio operator detects the two torpedoes fired allowing the U-boat to dodge them, while Goodman finally dies from his sickness. Travers takes his place allowing the Swordfish to fire a third torpedo and destroy the U-821, but the delay caused by Goodman's death allows the U-boat to locate the Swordfish and fire a torpedo before being hit. The torpedo explodes near and fatally damages the Swordfish, killing most of the crew and forcing the Americans to surface. Travers, Sullivan, and six other crew members: Wright, engineers Abers (Sisto), and Ox (Gallagher), and torpedomen Miller (Somerholder), Cooper (Giovinazzo), and Romano (Morgan) abandon ship and are taken prisoner by the U-429. The Germans split them up into two groups: Travers, Ox, Cooper, and Miller in the bow and Sullivan, Wright, Abers, and Romano in the stern. Wright nurses Sullivan and discovers his rash, where Abers recognizes it as meningitis and the group realizes that if the Germans don't kill them, the disease will. Days later, when the Germans prepare to attack an American destroyer, the fictional USS Logan (based on the real USS Logan), Travers and his group break free and fire one of the torpedoes off course, but one of the Germans alerts the control room and the Americans are oncd again restrained. The torpedo's proximity detonator causes it to explode and alert the Logan to the U-boat's presence. The Logan attacks the U-429 with depth charges that makes Sullivan's group break free as well, only for Sullivan to succumb to the meningitis while protecting his crew from their German guard in the process. Meanwhile, the meningitis spreads and kills two thirds of the German crew and Romano. Later on, Travers has an hallucination of Rachel, who reminds him of his promise to come home.

With no other choice, Jonas decides to have Travers' men work with his crew in order to save them all by going to the US coast and be taken into custody. As both crews reluctantly work together, Jonas explains to Travers that he saved Travers' men because it was protocol to capture only the captain and COB of an enemy ship. He personally saved all of them because he's grown tired of the war and he felt strong for himself by saving lives instead of taking them. Jonas says if they come across either enemy, they must guarantee their men will go home. During their travel to the US coast, Klause (Heger), the U-429's quartermaster, becomes disillusioned with Jonas working with the Americans and orchestrates a mutiny, along with two other crew members, Lieutenant Bauer and Christophe, the U-429's radio operator. Abers and Wright subdue Christophe, who makes a distress call to other U-boats, and engineer Hans (Thorsen) knocks out Bauer to save Ox. Klause unsuccessfully attempts to use the last bow torpedo to blow up the boat and. literally stabs Jonas in the back until Travers uses a chain to snaps his neck, killing him. With his dying breath, Jonas gives command of the boat to Cremer. The crew comes across the USS Logan again decides to make contact with the destroyer, but they're attacked by the U-1221, another U-boat that responded to the distress call. The other U-boat fires several proximity torpedoes in an attempt to sink the U-429, while the Logan goes to battle stations. Enduring heavy damage as they evade every torpedo attack, two of the German crew of the U-429 try to convince Cremer to fight back, but he refuses to fire on his own countrymen, even though they're trying to kill him. Abers and Travers convince Cremer to fight, but he reveals they only have one torpedo left in the ster . After passing right on top of the enemy submarine to bring the stern tubes to bear, the crew uses the last torpedo to try to destroy the U-1221, but it doesn't detonate. The Logan locates the U-1221 with its sonar and fires its guns into the water, destroying the U-1221. When Travers makes contact with the Logan, Captain Samuel Littleton (Ellis) orders Travers to take the Enigma and any documents. Travers falsifies that they're sinking and disconnects with the Logan, keeping his promise to Cremer to never let the U-429 be captured. The crew floods the boat and are rescued by the Logan.

Returning home, Travers argues with Kentz about the Germans saving their lives. Kentz says the Germans are still the enemy but he'll do his best to have them taken care of. Travers and Rachel are reunited and they go visit Cremer in a POW compound, where Rachel thanks Cremer for saving her husband's life. Travers gives him cigarettes and tells Cremer it's good to see him as Travers leaves and Cremer watches on.


Alternate titles[edit]

  • When the film was shown on Albanian television, it was given a title that translates as Underwater Prison in English, and had similar titles in some other countries' TV schedules U-429: Underwater Prison in Armenia.


  1. ^ "In Enemy Hands". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved 27 July 2011.

External links[edit]