Saturday 13 May 2023

Movie Review: Gorky Park (1983)

Genre: Mystery Thriller
Director: Michael Apted
Starring: William hurt, Lee Marvin, Brian Dennehy, Joanna Pacula, Ian Bannen, Ian McDiarmid
Running Time: 123 minutes

Synopsis: Three murdered bodies are found in Moscow's Gorky Park. Police officer Arkady Renko (William Hurt) investigates and establishes connections between the victims and influential American businessman Jack Osborne (Lee Marvin). Meanwhile movie set worker Irina (Joanna Pacula), who is Osborne's friend and desperate to escape the USSR, is hiding secrets. Renko also tangles with New York City Detective William Kirwill (Brian Dennehy), the brother of one of the victims. 

What Works Well: The adaptation of the novel by Martin Cruz Smith enjoys high quality production values and creates a grey mood of mistrust, born from a marriage of communism and the bitter cold. Enough personal motivations in pursuit of greed and freedom ensure a base level of engagement, punctuated by short and sharp bursts of action and violence.

What Does Not Work As Well: Dennis Potter's script is overstuffed and uncoordinated, many major events taking place off-screen and crucial new revelations carelessly dropped into conversations. The plot details (something to do with smuggling sables) are more bizarre than effective, with neither the crimes nor the romance registering emotionally. William Hurt's deliberate performance slow-dances with blatant mis-casting, while Lee Marvin does only marginally better by gliding on a current of disinterest.

Conclusion: The frigid exteriors match the cold execution.

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