K-19: The Widowmaker

Dan Movie Reviews

Headed back on over to The Grove tonight to see Kathryn Bigelow‘s latest flick, K-19: The Widowmaker. Convinced that it was gonna be a mildly amusing submarine drama with Harrison Ford spouting an awful Russian accent (as evidenced by the trailer), I gotta say I was going in with less than optimistic expectations. As a result, I was completely blindsided by this film. Ford’s accent doesn’t become an issue after the first 10 minutes, and for the next two hours, I was completely engrossed in the harrowing nuclear disaster unfolding before my eyes. For more info on the real event (which is a little less cinemaic but still interesting to read about), check out the National Geographic website.

Yes, this movie has characters you care about – certainly something you don’t see every day – and on top of it, we get a pretty exciting film to boot. Ford’s portrayal as a harsh sub captain loyal to the Soviet Communist Party makes him almost seem like the bad guy for a while – especially when his motives are called into question. Liam Neeson does a fine job as well as much of the supporting cast (almost none of these guys were recognizable actors, but I’m hoping to see more of them in the future).

The direction is solid; Bigelow has redeemed herself for Strange Days. Walter Murch, as usual, did a bang-up job with the editing, and while some of the vfx shots by ILM were a bit “in your face”, there were some great “through the ship” shots. Standing out as a very solid effort was the orchestral score by Klaus Badelt. Using the famed Kirov Orchestra and Chorus, this heavy Russian tome is solid, thematic, and sticks in your head. The album is a good listen as well. I look forward to interviewing Badelt sometime next week.

Yeah, and it was cool to see Ryan’s name in the credits as well. Go you! 😉