Gorky Park

Gorky Park

DVD - 2000
Average Rating:
9
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Gorky Park opens with the discovery of three mutilated bodies buried in the snow in Moscow's Gorky Park. Arkady Renko, the chief investigator of the Moscow Militia, is assigned to unravel this horrific crime, but he is confronted by an uncooperative and corrupt KGB.
Publisher: Santa Monica, CA : MGM Home Entertainment, [2000]
ISBN: 9780792847922
079284792X
Characteristics: 1 videodisc (127 min.) : sd., col. ; 4 3/4 in

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h
hesselugano
Nov 17, 2017

The late Dennis Potter surely deserves credit for having written the excellent script for this movie.

d
Dave99_0
Jun 12, 2017

I think that slender William Hurt was miscast. The Arkady Renko of the novels was stout, melancholic and expressed a lot of Russian black humour. Still, I would rate "Gorky Park" at 4.0 stars. It is unfortunate that more Arkady Renko novels are not made into films.

p
patch666
Mar 21, 2017

Great movie from a great book . Acting is fantastic. A great look into the private corruptions under Soviet style communism. People's personal greed always conquers all good intentions.

r
rico_69
Apr 30, 2016

The story line was good but I found the quality of the film to be low budget.

harrybrowne Jul 01, 2015

Excellent suspense drama based on the book. I have read all of Martin Cruz Smith, and this adaptation does him justice.

Masterful, tight direction from Michael Apted. Spectacular scenery; low key, haunting score; and great acting by all, especially William Hurt.

Best line: I've been in your wonderful Soviet markets. I've never seen anything fresh enough to bleed.

v
voisjoe1_0
Mar 22, 2015

William Hurt is excellent as a cold and distant Russian detective that might just be in the process of being set up as a patsy by the KGB. If so, his goose is cooked. The next Hurt film would be Kiss of the Spider Woman where he gets both an Oscar win and a Cannes win for best actor, a quite rare fete (I suppose somebody else has accomplished it). The film has quite a convoluted plot with more than two sides trying to come out on top at the end. The ending seems similar to that in Casablanca, with one lover leaving the other on an airplane, probably forever.

r
rslade
Aug 14, 2014

A lot of the politics have changed, and that may make parts of it hard to follow, but it stands up well after 20 years.

b
BertBailey
May 01, 2013

Some Things Hollywood does well, and for a 1983 thriller this was done very well.

The casting is just right: William Hurt's a fine actor, and who can go wrong with a silver-haired Lee Marvin on board? Every gesture is well-delivered, with the usual loose lack of alacrity yet also his customary onscreen weight. Roger Ebert said about Marvin in this film that, although somewhat typecast, he brought a fully realized character “...so we don't have to stand around waiting for introductions." Brian Dennehy manages well with a good secondary role as a sort of misplaced and out-leagued ex-Marine out to learn what happened to his brother. It’s a plum role for Joanna Pacula too, a Polish actress who strikes the right notes with everything from grim cynicism and suspicion of the Soviet cop (Hurt), to her unusual, quite plausibly Muscovite colouring. Ian Bannen is also excellent in his small part, and even UK comic Alexei Sayle (Didn’t you kill my bruvah? ) has a cameo as a weasely, faintly comical black-marketeer.

Best of all, Michael Apted's direction never lets up the pace under the weight of detail, very little of which (see comment on Marvin) involves action scenes or shoot-‘em-ups. Dennis Potter’s tight script won him the 1984 Edgar Award: the plot calls on a cast of absent characters with an involved back-story integral to the proceedings, but the script is economical, sometimes rich, and not once dated or embarrassing. James Horner held back from his later orchestral exuberance to craft one of his better scores for this. Art directors seldom win prizes for drabness, but if there ever was a candidate, Ralf G. Bode’s work here is it: from the bleak flowery curtains to the rickety Ladas, things have a pre-Gorbachev, Soviet flavour, before Putin and the spy services took possession of that empire. This also includes glimpses of the opulent apparatchiks’ hangouts, such as luxurious baths where the coffee tasted fine and the tables were plush stocked.

Filmed in Helsinki and Stockholm, this is the only Hollywood film in the last half century set in the Soviet Union – but for ‘Enemy at the Gates’ (2001; with Jude Law and Ed Harris as rival WWII sharpshooters). A very few weak notes include a scene in a lobby where eyes don’t meet, then do, and some dialogue near the close as sentimental as in ‘Casablanca,’ though impossible to pull off. Apted chose to keep the scene with the former, very minor gaffe; in the latter, he turns the camera away ...and the editor let him down.

Yet this film is intriguing in being as much about the characters as about the plot they move through. Slowly but convincingly the distaste Pacula portrays so well transitions to a quizzical distance from Hurt, the Moscow cop who gradually shocks her, while trying to win her over, with something she cannot accept. It culminates in an extended, well-scripted scene that is one of the film’s strongest. And Apted nicely litters about a few hints [spoiler to come: do beware] suggesting that this will be one of those plots, fresh for its day, where the one assigning the hero to find the killers is behind the whole caper – which has since been done to death, yet maybe not quite as well.

Recommended.

b
bstudent
Apr 01, 2012

most solid crime drama.

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