New film distributor RCR releases their first theatrical film this week with Phantom. Set in the late 1960s, and loosely based on a true story (more on that in a moment), Phantom follows Demi (Ed Harris), a Soviet Navy captain given one last, mysterious task involving an old submarine. The presence of KGB officers, who have their own mission, threatens to bring the world to the brink of World War III.
Where to begin… You know there’s a problem with your film when a cast that includes remarkable character actors like Ed Harris and William Fichtner can’t make your film watchable. Phantom is a tedious film with a production quality that belongs on cable TV at 3 a.m., not on 2,000+ screens across the country. For a film set in the 1960s Soviet Union, even if it’s largely aboard a submarine, having all of your actors speak with definite American accents is a horrible, horrible decision. I won’t get into the ending here, in case anyone reading this actually decides to watch the film, but I will say this: acknowledging after the final scene that the events surrounding the main part of your story are largely unknown, and that the film is basically pure speculation, means that your film really should avoid the whole “based on an historical moment” angle in promotional materials. As previously mentioned, this is RCR’s first theatrical release, and if the rest of their works in production are on this level of poorly-composed messiness, the upstart should reevaluate their future plans.