Successful screenwriter David Ayer got his first on-screen credit with Universal's war movie U-571, an ensemble submarine adventure that was (very) loosely based on actual events. With some slick direction by Jonathan Mostow and a cast that includes Harvey Keitel, Bill Paxton, Matthew McConaughey and David Keith, I thought the movie was a fairly fine piece of matinee-style entertainment.

But my buddies over in England were pretty damn pissed about the changes made between the world of reality and the realm of cinema. Basically, the movie states that American servicemen were the ones who acquired that mega-important "Enigma" code machine from the Nazis, while actual history dictates that it was British men who did the heroic deed. And those who respect British Naval History were seriously (not to mention justifiably) displeased with what they saw in U-571. (It'd be like someone making a biopic of Frenchman John Wayne.)

Anyway, it's six years later, and Mr. Ayer now has something to say regarding U-571, and that something comes in the form of a semi-apology. "It was a distortion... a mercenary decision to create this parallel history in order to drive the movie for an American audience," is what the filmmaker told the BBC recently, as if we didn't already know the scoop on the movie. Still, it's very cool to hear the guy own up to the misstep, even if it was only his very first project for Universal and he probably didn't have much say in the matter one way or the other.

For his part, David Ayer followed up U-571 with the goofy The Fast and the Furious, the intense Training Day, the underappreciated Dark Blue, and the guiltily pleasurable S.W.A.T. Also due very soon is Ayer's directorial debut: Harsh Times, starring Christian Bale and Freddy Rodriguez, is, in my opinion, the best work he's ever done. (And although I do consider myself a fan of Mr. Ayer's work, I must now throw down a large gauntlet of skepticism regarding his next project: an alleged remake of The Wild Bunch.)
categories Cinematical