K-19: The Widowmaker

MPAA Rating: PG-13

Entertainment: +3

Content: +3

Inspired by an actual event in history, this engrossing action-adventure tells the story of a Russian submarine crews 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. Revealing that a Russian submarine could fire a nuclear missile into the United States will hopefully discourage the Americans from attacking them. 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. Early on, Captain Vostrikov pushes his crew relentlessly and includes many emergency drills until they are exhausted. But when the subs nuclear reactor develops a cooling system leak, matters become much worse. The crew must repair the leak in a chamber now filled with nuclear radiation. Although several members die in this gallant effort, the sub continues on its mission. But 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 to the plight of this plagued Russian sub and box office success of K-19: THE WIDOWMAKER is virtually assured.

The 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. And in a time of U.S. patriotic resurgence, it portrays a group of non-U.S. military men in their finest hour. 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. Since much of the film portrays the harrowing crises the crew must deal with in the submarines close quarters, the action is very dramatic and intense. Crewmembers experience a number of injuries, including severe radiation burns. Some fairly 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. In a very unusual and refreshing move for todays films, Hollywood chose not to have the crew spew out obscenities and profanities during the crises. And it proves that foul language is not necessary for a film to be highly realistic. Only one slightly suggestive comment is made by a crewmember. However, in a humorous incident, the Russian crew moons an American helicopter crew. The intense crisis scenes are the major factor for the films PG-13 rating. With a warning about the graphic injuries and the bare posterior scene, hearty congratulations are due the films producers for this very acceptable and fascinating film for teenagers and adults.

Preview Reviewer: John Evans
Paramount Pictures, 5555 Melrose Ave., Los Angeles, CA 90038

The following categories contain objective listings of film content which contribute to the subjective numeric Content ratings posted to the left and on the Home page.

Crude Language: None

Obscene Language: None

Profanity: None

Violence: Many times - Moderate, but intense (All violence occurs in the form of accidental injuries to crewmembers and no one harms another person, scenes of hand caught in pulley, gruesome radiation burns, men vomit, gun threat)

Sex: None

Nudity: Once (male rear as Russians moon American helicopter crew)

Sexual Dialogue/Gesture: Once - Mild (comical reference to male genitals)

Drugs: Few times - crew drinks wine and liquor no drunkenness

Other: Sacrificial heroism portrayed by Russian crew; concern of Russian captains for their men, two nations desire to prevent world war portrayed positively

Running Time: 126 minutes
Intended Audience: Teenagers and adults

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