A Glimpse of Hell

Watch A Glimpse of Hell

  • PG-13
  • 2001
  • 1 hr 25 min
  • 6.1  (565)

A Glimpse of Hell is a movie from 2001 that tells the true story of the USS Iowa explosion, which occurred on April 19, 1989, during a routine training exercise, killing 47 crew members. The movie follows the investigation into the incident, which revealed a culture of fear and neglect on board the ship. James Caan plays Captain Fred Moosally, the commanding officer of the USS Iowa, who is initially hailed as a hero for his leadership during the explosion. However, as the investigation progresses, it becomes clear that Moosally may have been partly responsible for the tragedy. Robert Sean Leonard plays Lieutenant Dan Meyer, the officer in charge of the ship's guns, who becomes a key witness in the investigation. Daniel Roebuck plays Petty Officer Third Class Clayton Hartwig, who is accused of causing the explosion by deliberately sabotaging one of the ship's gun turrets.

The movie is a gripping drama that explores the human cost of military incompetence and covers themes of loyalty, bravery, and betrayal. It highlights the dangers of a culture of fear, where subordinates are afraid to report mistakes or speak out against their superiors. It also shows the importance of communication and training in preventing such incidents from happening.

A Glimpse of Hell is well-acted, with James Caan delivering a powerful performance as a man torn between his loyalty to his crew and his duty to the Navy. Robert Sean Leonard provides a nuanced portrayal of a young officer struggling to do the right thing, while Daniel Roebuck is convincing as a troubled sailor caught up in events beyond his control.

The movie also features a strong supporting cast, including Jamie Harrold as Lieutenant Steve Skelley, the officer investigating the explosion, and Nick Anderson as Petty Officer Miller, one of Hartwig's closest friends on the ship. The ensemble cast work well together, creating a believable world of sailors and officers struggling to deal with the aftermath of a disaster.

A Glimpse of Hell is directed by Mikael Salomon, who brings a gritty realism to the movie's depiction of life on board a battleship. Salomon uses handheld cameras and fast cuts to create a sense of urgency, while also making effective use of the claustrophobic spaces of the ship. The movie is well-shot, with the explosion sequence being particularly harrowing and well-executed.

One of the movie's strengths is the examination of the investigation and the court-martial that followed the disaster. The movie doesn't shy away from the political and social context of the tragedy, highlighting the tensions between the Navy and Congress, and also exploring the media's role in shaping public opinion. The court-martial scenes are tense and compelling, and do a good job of highlighting the different perspectives of the various witnesses and defendants.

Overall, A Glimpse of Hell is an engaging and thought-provoking movie that sheds light on a tragic incident in American naval history. It's a movie that both entertains and educates, highlighting the importance of accountability, communication, and training in preventing such incidents from happening again. It's a must-watch for anyone interested in military history or courtroom dramas.

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  • Release Date
  • MPAA Rating
  • Runtime
    1 hr 25 min
  • IMDB Rating
    6.1  (565)