movie film review | chris tookey

K19: The Widowmaker/ The Widowmaker

© UIP/ Paramount Pictures - all rights reserved
  K19: The Widowmaker/ The Widowmaker Review
Tookey's Rating
4 /10
Average Rating
6.00 /10
Capt. Vostrikov: Harrison Ford , Capt. Polenin: Liam Neeson , Vadim Radtchenko: Peter Sarsgaard
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Directed by: Kathryn Bigelow
Written by: Christopher Kyle, based on a story by Louis Nowra

Released: 2002
Origin: US
Colour: C
Length: 138

K19 tells the true story of a Soviet nuclear accident that has been hushed up until recently.
Reviewed by Chris Tookey

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It will chiefly be of interest to people in the Soviet Union. To the rest of us, the news that their authorities have been inept in their handling of nuclear power and ruthless about covering up their failures will come as no great surprise. And it's not as if the western powers have been much better.

Harrison Ford and Liam Neeson do battle beneath the waves as captain and second-in-command of a Russian nuclear submarine as it flounders and irradiates its crew.

Kathryn Bigelow's plodding celebration of male machismo will sink without trace because, though some events in the film may be based on real life, the clashes between Neeson and Ford clearly aren't - they're a rip-off of countless other submarine dramas, including Crimson Tide, in which Denzel Washington and Gene Hackman did the same thing much more convincingly. The plot requires both leading characters to change drastically in the final reel, and their abrupt, puzzling volte-face doesn’t ring true at all.

As a thriller K19 isn't all that thrilling, and it's far too long. It makes a change to see a Cold War drama in which events are seen from the Commie point of view; but the insights into the Soviet mindset aren't profound.

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