K-19: The Widowmaker
Reviewed in January 2010
Director: Kathryn Bigelow. Cast: Harrison Ford, Liam Neeson, Peter Sarsgaard, Steve Nicolson, Christian Camargo, James Ginty, Ravil Isyanov, Donald Sumpter, Tim Woodward, John Shrapnel, George Anton, Lex Shrapnel, Ingvar Sigurdsson, Sam Spruell, Sam Redford, Joss Ackland. Screenplay: Christopher Kyle (based on a screen story by Louis Nowra).

Photo © 2002 Paramount Pictures/Intermedia Films
From Catching Up on the 00s: "A lemon of a lead turn from Harrison Ford cannot dampen Bigelow's gifts for taut, emotional storytelling about loners, comrades, and unusual thinkers trapped in exhausting, genre-structured scenarios. Sure we already know most of what can go wrong on a sub, but the personal and political resonances still come through, as does the suspense." 1961: USSR enough nukes to destroy twice over, USA ten times over, story couldn't be told for 28 years (i.e., 13 years ago?) HFord just can't get inside this guy, much less get us there: I didn not ask for your advice Crampling of the steel shell walls at 300m Pierogies everywhere Not clear just what they're accomplishing with their DIY repairs of torpedo compartments Early CGI - is she just playing? Does he just want to know what kind of machine he's got? Brace for impact... You know they love to smack their boats against some ice Nested rows of actors in tight spaces to evoke depth and claustrophobia Liam Neeson is, like, TOO HUGE for this ship We just wrote our names into the history books... but I don't know WHY as much as I wish I did "You are still our captain, Major..." Camargo and the blond fumbling through a crowded room after radiation poison, vomiting, thinly garmented Loud ticking, like a metal switchbox Damning how much the film thrives when Ford's out of it Chief engineer Gorlov congratulated over loud-speaker -- radiation burn victim huzzahing through his anguish Static purr of radiation; writhing mouse in cage (though a bit on the nose) Men are hungry, food is contaminated - at 1:27:00 HurtLocker-ish derring-do of cooling the sub, but without the same clarity of context or protocol "The jackals have found us - it's an American destroyer" Feore-ish doctor: "I'm giving them aspirin!" - one dude still walking around with a radiation counter "They said to give the men plenty of fresh fruit" "I want my men off of this boat" "They'll send you to the Gulag, like your father" / "Well, it's a family tradition, isn't it?" Do they have any idea what's going on here? Perhaps a bit too much soaring music here at the end? A bit distended with final 1989 epilogue, as though still trying to get Ford into it... B

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