K-19: The Widowmaker
Inspired by an actual event in history, this engrossing action-adventure tells the story of a Russian submarine crew’s bravery on a strategic mission during the Cold War years. In 1961, the K-19, a new Kursk-class submarine, receives the mission to test fire a nuclear missile in the Arctic region, then patrol along the eastern seaboard of the United States. Captain Alexei Vostrikov (Harrison Ford), a stern Russian officer with an iron will, is given command of the K-19, replacing Captain Mikhail Polenin (Liam Neeson) who is demoted to second-in-command as his Executive Officer. When the sub’s nuclear reactor develops a cooling system leak, the crew must repair the leak in a chamber now filled with radiation. More problems develop which test the endurance of the crew and the strained relationship between the two captains. And there is no assurance they will ever be able to return home. This intense drama will draw viewers’ rapt attention.
This film is an inspiring story of courage and heroism as the K-19 officers and crew display their sacrificial commitment to duty as Russian Navy men. It is also a story of the political courage required to avoid warfare. Captain Polenin shows a deep concern for the morale and safety of the crew, but his stern replacement, Captain Vostrikov, eventually displays his own commitment to their well-being. Crew members experience a number of injuries, including severe radiation burns. Some pretty realistic scenes of injuries and burned skin on radiation victims are graphic and gruesome. But the most amazing phenomenon in this film is the complete lack of foul language. Only one slightly suggestive comment is made by a crew member. However, in a humorous incident, the Russian crew “moons” an American helicopter crew. With a warning about the graphic injuries and bare posterior scene, “K-19: The Widowmaker” is a very acceptable and fascinating film for teenagers and adults.