K19 The Widowmaker (2002) Other movies recommended for you
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Plot: The story of USSR's first nuclear ballistic submarine, which suffered a malfunction in its nuclear reactor on its maiden voyage in the North Atlantic in 1961. The submarine's crew, led by the unyielding Captain Alexi Vostrikov, races against time to prevent a Chernobyl-like nuclear disaster which threatens not only the lives of his crew, but has the potential to ignite a world war between the super powers. Runtime: 138 mins Release Date: 18 Jul 2002
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. (by Freddy_Levit)
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 <more>
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.
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 <more>
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.
Finally a movie about a country saving the future of the world and it was not the United States. With what is happening in the world today this is easy to understand and no wonder this movie did not do well in the United States. A group of young Soviet Officers and Sailors charged with the task of the un-thinkable. K-19 is a film in Soviet times of strength,honour and commitment to the Motherland. A time of doing one's duty engulfed by the impending invisible death. Of Officers driven by the past into the hopes of the future. K-19 is a lesson to us all President Kennedy once said, " <more>
Our most basic common link is that we all inhabit this small planet. We all breathe the same air We all cherish our children's future And we are all mortal."
This film reminded me more of "Glory" than of "Hunt for Red October" or "Das Boot." The men sacrificed themselves not for The State or some ideology, but for each other, their fellow men & their leader. You know, most of us can't change the world. In a million years, whatever we do won't make a bit of difference anyway. It's the small things--one person, one moment, one action--that really count. That's what this story said to me. Besides it's more exciting than all the shooting, car crashing, exploding movies out there.
Brilliant (by lje32677)
I love Harrison Ford's movies, but I have never seen one that I would say is brilliant until now. "Air Force One" was serious, but it was fun too. K-19 is different. From the first scene, I knew this would be a serious movie. The movie is based on actual events with, of course, dramatizations, for entertainment purposes. Liam Neeson is Captain Polenin, the Captain of a submarine. He is loved by his men and in a moment of tenseness, he chooses the safety of his men over the State. He is demoted to executive officer and a new captain takes over. Harrison Ford is the new Captain; <more>
Vostov. The two men don't get on from the beginning. Their styles are completely opposite. After tense training drills, the crew begins to form around it's new Captain, except one. Because the ship was sent to sea without being ready, machinery all over the ship begin to break down, including the reactor. Eight men die bringing the reactor back on line. Of course, the movie ends with the ship being saved and returning to port. But it really isn't a happy ending. A total of 28 men die from radiation poisoning which could have been prevented if the commanding generals had taken the warnings by Vostov and Polenin seriously.The most impressive part of this movie for me was the performances of Neeson and Ford. Neeson has a reputation for fine preformances, but often Ford plays the fun action hero. In this film, it is obvious that Mr. Ford can hold his own. This film was well put together. Directing and editing were on line with the movement of the story. The music was outstanding. But it was the performances of Ford and Neeson that made this movie. This movie was like a 7 course meal that, when it's over, you have to sit back and say, "Now, that was satisfying." This was a very satisfying movie and I do recommend it.
K-19 is perfect truly movie about Russian submarines. I can't find any mistakes in plot - all things is correct! May be it's funny, but K-19 is best patriotic movie for Russians which was made by Americans! Thank you, Harrison Ford and all, who made this movie! 9/10 sorry for my English...
Just proves critics know nothing about good film making (by Agent10)
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 <more>
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
It's frightening how close we came... (by Anonymous_Maxine)
K-19 has a massive cast, especially in the two lead characters of Mikhail Polenin Liam Neeson and Alexei Vostrikov Harrison Ford . My understanding is that Ford wanted to take on a role different than ones he had taken in the past to prevent type-casting, and while he does a good job in his role as does just about everyone involved , the movie does slip up a little bit by having an almost nonexistent Russian presence in what is supposed to be the story of a Russian submarine.Comparisons to the far superior Hunt for Red October are inevitable, and it is interesting to note that that movie <more>
was also about a Russian submarine but was presented all in English, but it doesn't lose credibility the way K-19 does, probably because it at least maintained a Russian accent, while Ford is speaking an unmistakable American accent and Neeson, well, Neeson is just Neeson and that's always good. He makes a great German but is less convincing as a Russian. I don't know why.Nevertheless, as a story about an extremely important submarine mission rife with problems the movie succeeds brilliantly. K-19 is basically Russia's protection again nuclear war, which they fear the Americans might start at any moment. They hope to deter attack by showing evidence that they can issue destruction in return, and it is because of this that the sub is commissioned and sent on a mission to the polar ice caps to launch a test missile. There is a great scene where all of the crew and many other people are witnessing the launch of the submarine, and a woman swings a bottle of champagne on a rope to smash against the hull, but it bounces off unbroken. "We're cursed," one of the dismayed crewmen says. That woman must have felt terrible.There is an immediate rivalry between Polenin, who understands the ship's limitations and wants them corrected before beginning the mission, and Vostrikov, who also understands the ship's limitations but also understands how important the mission is and so outranks Polenin's protests. One of the best things about the movie is that the dramatic action is pushed along by genuine concerns. The movie would have suffered terribly if they were ignoring such important problems with the submarine without good reason.One of the best things about the movie is that it is able to create so much dramatic tension, even though it takes place during peacetime. There was a huge amount of political tension in the air, but there wasn't a war going on. This is why there is not a lot of concern shown when an American destroyer is sighted near the submarine, because one of the goals of the mission is for the Americans to see what they're doing.Instead, a small leak aboard the nuclear sub becomes a problem big enough to potentially start a war. Incidentally, one of the crewmen noticed something wrong with one of the dials at least twice before the leak was discovered once before the ship left port . Had he reported that problem when he first noticed it, he could have saved the lives of everyone who died because of the radiation and prevented the entire thing. At any rate, once the leak is discovered, the options are to abandon ship and surrender the crucial technology to the Americans a single concession which could dramatically alter the futures of the two nations, and thus rendering it unacceptable , try to repair the reactor without sufficient protection against the radiation, or scuttle the ship also unacceptable because of the boat's importance .There is a tense scene where Vostikov orders the ship to dive to almost crush depth, one of the obligatory scenes in submarine movies where the hull creaks and groans and everyone stares at the ceiling, like there's something to see there, and then he orders the ship to ascend at breakneck speed, surfacing through a layer of ice. Vostrikov intends to push the boat and the men to the limit so that they all know what the limit is, but unfortunately it culminates in a hugely disappointing display of digital effects as the ship breaks through the ice in something that looks more like it belongs in a cartoon than a serious film like this I was reminded of the unfortunate Scrat's efforts to save an acorn from a splitting glacier in Ice Age .The film requires an extra bit of suspension of disbelief to accept a story about a Russian submarine but without any Russian actors. I'm curious to know how it was received in Russia. I imagine it was a hit, despite the lack of Russian presence in the film, because it illustrates their courage and dedication to their country in the most difficult of times. But nonetheless, it is hugely effective and never lets up once it gets going. The ending strikes me as the part where the most creative liberties were taken with the original true story, leaving you with the feeling of a Hollywood ending imposed on a true story from Russian and American history. But if nothing else, the movie is a fascinating look at how close we came to widespread destruction during one of the most tense times in modern history.
Can Americans really tell the story about a Russian disaster! (by batti)
The true story about the Russian nuclear submarine that ran into lots of troubles on it's maiden voyage. The most serious problem was when the cooling system to the reactor broke and since the vessel was not properly equipped with emergency supply and spare parts it was impossible to fix the problem without harming the crew.K-19 shows how brave men try to solve problems and work together in tough and dangerous situations. With their own lives at stake they worked to repair the cooling system for the reactor core. I actually thought that an American movie showing a Russian tragedy would be <more>
a very bad idea. In K-19 the director, Kathryn Bigelow, actually managed to show the chain of events without making the Russians look like fools and morons and vodka-drinking idiots. Good work, Kathryn! I think a good reason for the accuracy is probably the the National Geographics society was involved in the making of the film. Another reason was that Kathryn didn't add lots of stupid Michael Bay crap in the movie...like a love story or something even more submoronic. Thank God it wasn't Michael Bay who directed this movie!