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.Written by
In pre-production, director Kathryn Bigelow and writer Louis Nowra researched the physical effects of radiation damage for the scenes the crew emerge from the reactor. The images were so grotesque they thought audiences would not believe them on-screen, so scaled them back in the makeup process. See more »
When the Captain goes into the radioactive reactor room to drag out the last man who was working on the welding, he doesn't close the hatch door to the reactor. This would severely increase the amount of leakage. See more »
I am one of those people who rolls their eyes at war and submarine films. For some reason, I find the claustrophobic atmosphere irritating and often bore of them in any case.
But this was gripping. Most of the drama actually takes place on the submarine rather than annoyingly cutting between onboard the submarine and the outside world the whole way through the film.
The acting was surprisingly good. In fact, exceptional, even though anyone could point flaws in the Russian accents. The drama was intense and overall, the film was gripping and easy to follow. The story unfolded, avoiding the temptation to overplay irrelevant aspects of the story. It's unfortunate that it was a box office bomb, but I think a great deal of that had to do with some unnecessary "show off" special effects, when the film ultimately hit its heights and greatness in the last 45 minutes, where a basic set and some good lighting is all that was needed.
If I had one complaint, it would be that the early stages could have been shortened because the film makers seemed hell-bent on trying to build a sense of intense camaraderie within the ship's crew, but somehow the dialogue and early events didn't quite do it correctly. Or perhaps it wasn't so necessary to harp on about so much. Nonetheless, it was a great watch and I was pleasantly surprised, even if you don't like movies of this genre.
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