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McConaughey plays Lt.Tyler of a marine group sent on a special World War II mission. Their job is to board a Nazi submarine and steal the enigma machine, a sort of sophisticated decoder-ring type device that the Nazis use to transmit secret messages to each other. If the Americans get their hands on the enigma machine, they can interpret the Nazis' plans and makes their own plans for counterattack.
Tyler and his crew pose as Nazi mechanics arriving to fix the Nazi submarine. Almost immediately upon boarding the sub, they are discovered, and firing starts. The American ship is destroyed, along with its crew, including the captain. That leaves Tyler in charge.
After overtaking the sub, the Americans must find a way to avoid a nearby Nazi destroyer and escape with the enigma machine.
U-571 isn't the most stale war movie I've seen, but it's no Saving Private Ryan. The acting is certainly commendable though, and there are several suspenseful scenes.
There wasn't anything I disliked about U-571; it just wasn't riveting. This movie is interesting for a little while, but lasted longer than my attention. I thought it was predictable, but then, that might be because I already knew who won World War II. (I knew history class was a waste of time. It spoiled this movie for me!)