Retro Film Reviews- Gorky Park

Gorky Park‘ is a different kind of crime thriller. Instead of taking place in the United States, the investigation takes place in Soviet Russia. It is directed by Michael Apted and was released in 1983.

Three bodies are found in Gorky Park in Soviet-era Russia. Officer Arkady Renko (William Hurt) of the militia is assigned to the case but is disturbed when the KGB refuses to take the case. He soon finds links to the theft of a dozen sables and the victims. Professor Levi Andreev (Ian McDiarmid) agrees to reconstruct their faces. Renko is soon accosted by New York Detective William Kirwill (Brian Dennehy) whose brother was among the deceased. They form an uneasy alliance and soon discover American filmmaker and Soviet sympathizer Jack Osborne (Lee Marvin) is linked as well as movie extra Irina Asanova (Joanna Pacula). As Renko unravels the crime, he soon finds a conspiracy.

The movie is based on the novel Gorky Park written by Martin Cruz Smith, who wrote a series of novels based surrounding the fictional Russian detective Arkady Renko. I have not read the novels, so I will focus on the film.

William Hurt owns this movie. He is a fantastic actor and it is no different in this movie. That goes for Lee Marvin and Joanna Pacula as well. They have tremendous talent and it shows in this film. Ian McDiarmid, of course, shows his dynamite acting skills though his role is smaller.

Now I will say that the movie had too many subplots. While Brian Dennehy is excellent, I felt that his role made the movie a bit bloated. I just find it hard to believe that an American could rove around Moscow and not garner any attention, especially during the era of Communist dictatorship. Also, the conspiracy surrounding the sables was a bit much.

As for the overall film, I did enjoy it. The mystery itself was very intriguing. I found the intrigue of how the Soviet handles murder investigations very interesting. Now, this is a work of fiction so it could be incorrect, but the suspicion and the chase was brilliant.

Bottom line, Gorky Park has its flaws, but it has an intriguing look at how crime is solved in the Soviet Union. It also has some dynamite performances by its cast.

PARENTAL CONCERNS: Strong foul language, Violence, Brief sexuality and nudity

FAVORITE QUOTE: I always wanted to meet an American. You are so, so different. Forgive me for staring. Only once before did I ever meet an American, in the flesh, so to speak.

Check out the trailer below:

What do you think? Let me know in the comments below. Tell me if there is a comic book, movie, or novel you would like me to review. While you are at it, check out my reviews of Tightrope and Soylent GreenDon’t forget to like, share, and subscribe for more posts like this one.

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