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K-19: The Widowmaker

K-19: The Widowmaker

Language: Chinese

Author: geocity

Updated: 4 years ago

Files: 1

Year: 2002
Run time: 2h 18min
IMDB score: 6.5

Movie infomation

Movie name: K-19: The Widowmaker

Genders: History, War, Drama, Thriller

Imdb Score: 6.5

Runtime: 2h 18min

Released: 19 Jul 2002

Director: Kathryn Bigelow

Writer: Louis Nowra, Christopher Kyle

Actors: Harrison Ford, Sam Spruell, Peter Stebbings, Christian Camargo

Box Office: $35.1M

Company: Paramount Pictures


Imdb Link

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Just proves critics know nothing about good film making

8/10 Forget the critics, forget about the whiney Russian sailors: this film is worth watching. This just goes to show how idiotic the general viewing public has become. Critics have become nothing but a bunch of "good review" whores who work for commission and free gifts. It just goes to show idiotic they are, embracing schlock like Spider-man but putting down audacity like this film. For shame. With a good cast, excellent tension and Harrison Ford, they still want more action and silly exposition.

Maybe it is the subject matter, or maybe it's the fact Harrison Ford isn't killing anyone and trying to act sexy, but I cannot understand why anyone would put this film down. I don't think this film is detrimental to the reputations to the Russian sailors, who were portrayed with gusto and bravado not exhibited in most submarine films. Also, the claustrophobic nature of the film must have been difficult to film, considering the close quarters the characters had to work with. Overall, the film probably could have used some fine tuning, but the way it is, it is still quite a film to watch. 7.2/10

4 years ago

K-19: The Filmmaker

10/10 Based on a true story, K-19: The Widowmaker tells of the Soviet Union's attempt in 1961 to not fall behind the United States in the Cold War. The United States had just launched the Polaris-class nuclear submarines. K-19 was a Russian sub retrofitted for nuclear capabilities. The Soviet crew's assignment was to take the sub into the Arctic and test fire an Intercontinental missile. The Americans would monitor the test as a part of routine surveillance--the test was done relatively close to a NATO outpost for one, and it would notify them that the Soviets had equal capabilities to the American Navy, helping to either stave off war, sustain the Cold War, or both, depending on your interpretation.

As the film begins, K-19 Captain Mikhail Polenin (Liam Neeson) is running his crew through a routine simulation. The nuclear reactor ends up having a problem, as it had on previous simulations. Polenin says they're not ready to run the mission yet. Instead of listening to him, the Soviet military powers that be install a new Captain--Alexei Vostrikov (Harrison Ford). Vostrikov is a hard-ass, which doesn't help him go over well with the K-19 crew, who were used to being chummy with Polenin. To make matters worse, Vostrikov has a questionable reputation--many believe that he's only in his position because of familial influence, and this despite the fact that his military father ended up in the gulag. After a number of bad portents, the sub is off on its mission and Vostrikov tries to get the crew into respectable and responsible shape so they can complete their task and get back home. As foreshadowed by the prologue, the K-19 eventually has a crisis with its nuclear reactor. The bulk of the film tells of this dilemma, attempted solutions, and various problems it causes.

K-19 is incredibly suspenseful and emotionally poignant. But it's perhaps amazing that it creates such nail-biting tension when we consider that on the surface level, it is simply a drama about a piece of machinery. Most of the plot is about trying to fix a broken gadget.

That might not sound very exciting, but there's much more to the film that a superficial glance at its plot would indicate. Director Kathryn Bigelow makes K-19 a combination of extended character portraits--primarily of Vostrikov, but also of a handful of other K-19 crewmembers, and a subtextual exploration of formal organizations and hierarchies in general.

Of course, the film is also a tribute to the real-life sacrifices and heroism of the K-19 submarine crew, who couldn't tell their stories for many years due to the Soviet government's official squelching of the incident. And on that end, the film is also a remarkable and perhaps somewhat controversial (politically and even artistically/philosophically) attempt to tell a serious, "balanced" historical story from a perspective "within" another culture.

Ford's performance is top-notch. He easily coaxes viewers to first hate him, even if they can understand his motivations, then he gradually layers complex nuances of character until we finally turn our opinions about Vostrikov around and empathize with him--but after not a little skepticism, which lingers for most of the central portion of the film--finally rooting for him against those government meanies who just can't understand his decisions because they weren't there. The whole arc easily takes film viewers on the same emotional journey the K-19 sub crew would have had.

Neeson has a similarly complex arc, but much more subtle--fitting for his supporting role. He goes from being your best buddy to someone to be suspicious of, then someone to be disliked for being a hard-ass of a different sort, then finally he surprises the audience with a saving grace action just about the same time that we realize that Ford as Vostrikov was right all along.

The film would be worth watching for just these two fine performances. But the crewmembers featured are just as sympathetic, especially when they make their mind-boggling sacrifices.

The progression of the matrix of dynamic personalities, their judgments, reservations, disputes, and suspicions, their pressing on despite less-than-perfect circumstances, and their relation to edicts from on high resemble what is probably more the norm for any complex, formal organization--not the least of which is the film-making enterprise, and more than likely, wherever you earn your daily keep.

Most of us have been involved with vocation-oriented projects or tasks that have had to progress despite the fact that a lot of people (involved or not) thought there were problems with the project or task at a fundamental level. This happens in films all the time. Studios and producers demand that a film begins production, maybe because it has to meet a particular release date, maybe because of marketing tie-ins and on and on, yet there still might not be a finished script, or we still don't know who is going to be cast as the villain, or any number of potentially disastrous situations. Vostrikov is like a film director being told to turn in a product on a tight deadline. He's doing the best he can to get the film rolling, and that means getting the crew to stop goofing off so they're ready to shoot, especially if the pressure becomes greater. It's probably a good thing that films don't run on nuclear reactors.

Of course the more literal political dilemmas that arise later on in the film are equally fascinating. But the humanizing elements of the characterizations and the universalizing elements on the story are what make K-19 hit home so hard. They add to the intriguing historical drama, the great direction and the good cinematography, score and other technical elements to easily push K-19 up to a 10.

4 years ago

Memorable For The Radiation Scenes

7/10 This was a pretty solid supposed true story of a Russian submarine and its captains during the early 1960s. It's memorable, story-wise, for the radiation victims among the crew members. There are some really dramatic scenes involving that horrific event. Otherwise, it's a story of the sub's problems and the conflict between two captains.

The story starts slowly so you have to stick with it as it gets better and better as it goes on and rewarding enough to make you glad you hung in there for the whole 137 minutes.

Profanity is minor and the Russian accents are handled well by the lead actors, led by Harrison Ford, Liam Neeson and Peter Sarsgaard.

It's not a great film, but it's good and interesting enough to recommend a rental, but not something I'd watch numerous times. Those radiation scenes would be a little too grim to watch numerous times.

4 years ago

It is funny to see how most, if not all comments, except the American ones regarding K-19 really praised it and really enjoyed it. It must be half a century of propaganda, not Harrison Ford's accent.

10/10 K-19 is a unique entry with a poignant portrayal of the other side of the Iron Curtain, showing the rest of the world the courage and the honour of the Russians to their mother land. Those who think of Russians, usually think of blood thirsty killing beasts who drink Vodka all day, but clearly this is just propaganda. I have Russian background and I have grown up around ethnics, and Russians are no different than the general public. It is American propaganda that has taken the rest of the world from understanding the Russian people. In K-19, the Russians are finally portrayed as human beings in the most harshest of all circumstances. This is not an action movie and it was not intended to be one. Most of the American comments shown here on Imdb are ridiculous. They clearly show the American expectations in a movie: It has to be a blow up, explosion filled, guns and bullets, kill your enemy blockbuster to make it into their best films ever list. K-19 however did not want to impress the Americans with special effects (it seems to the general American public that special effects are all that make quality movies these days) but instead wanted to show the world that Russian soldiers were not cold blooded murderers and were not war thirsty, but were soldiers under extreme circumstances - to show the struggle on the other side and to show the fear of death and the courage and heroics in preventing nuclear war, subsequently sparking World War III.

I was really impressed that at least some of the American comments were realistic, for anybody who understands cinema would classify this as a "masterpiece". I have come across many hilariously stupid and ridiculous American comments where they think they know what they are talking about and the thing is, they don't. Harrison Ford and Liam Neeson pulled off a brilliant realistic performance. In my opinion, their accents were very well done (I am Russian, so I would know) and the direction was splendid (a benchmark in sub film history with its claustrophobic sense and close direction). I felt really sorry for the characters, especially for the Nuclear Reactor Officer. The Kirov Orchestra pulled off one of the greatest soundtracks that I have ever heard (really powerful and striking pieces) and the general Russian feel throughout the film was "Authentic".

I was truly struck by this film. It sent shivers down my spine. The settings, the story telling, the performances, the direction, the music, the tension, the interaction and chemistry between the characters, the authenticity and best of all the cast truly made this film a "masterpiece". Thank you to one great "American" film director (Kathryn Bigelow) for waking up and seeing the Russians in a different light.

This movies is certainly a 10/10.

4 years ago

Much better than I expected

5/10 I rented this DVD for a little diversion, in spite of the bad buzz and the word "flop" attached. I thought it was a very good movie, very suspenseful and interesting. I don't nitpick about things like accents with films, just try to enjoy them. I agree with the majority of posters here, it is well worth your time.

4 years ago