Array of radiotelescopes in front of a mountain

K-19: The Widowmaker

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We watched the new Harrison Ford movie K-19: The Widowmaker last night. K-19 is about the disasterous initial sea voyage of the first Soviet ballistic missile nuclear submarine and the conflicts between its captain (Harrison Ford) and first officer (Liam Neeson).

Supposedly “inspired by a true story”, K-19’s tale would have better been served by a straight documentary rather than this overly long and slow Hollywood version. None of the actors sound Russian and Harrison Ford is terribly miscast as Captain Alexei Vostrikov. Apparently, the personal conflict in the movie between the capitan and his XO did not occur in reality and it ends up just slowing the story down further. We saw mutiny on a submarine in Crimson Tide, and there was no need to repeat it for K-19.

On the positive side for the movie were the scenes of the crew bravely entering the reactor room to jury-rig a coolant flow for the overheating nuclear reactor. They suffered horrific radiation sickness due to their actions, but they did avert a disaster.

For the real story, see the National Geographic K-19 website.