A captain commandeers a nuclear submarine that's on the brink of a catastrophic disaster. Captain Vostrikov is assigned to captain K-19, the first nuclear missile submarine deployed at the height of the Cold War. Vostrikov has replaced Captain Polenin, the crew's revered leader. Vostrikov's arrival leaves a bad taste in everyone's mouth, since his appointment is considered a result of bureaucratic favors. Add to that Vostrikov's strict and drill-sergeant demeanor, Polenin, assigned as second-in-command, has no choice but to let him lead.
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The sub is plagued with test-run problems, which led to Polenin's demotion. On its maiden voyage, Vostrikov takes the helm and commandeers the vessel with an iron fist. He assigns a guy Radtchenko, who came straight out of navy school to become the reactor engineer. Vostrikov runs various drills, testing the limits of both the ship and its crew. He is dissatisfied with their performance and continues to berate them. He plunges the sub to its maximum depth and lets it surface at top speed. Things look up when they successfully execute a crucial missile test near the eastern seaboard of America. But the nuclear reactor leaks, forcing temperatures to go up since there aren't any back-up cooling systems that work. The ship is in danger of exploding and causing a nuclear disaster, the task at hand is to cool the reactors down. They come up with the solution of rigging the water pipes. Vostrikov must sacrifice some men in order to connect the pipes together. Six men must work a few minutes at a time to limit their exposure to the radiation. As they do their jobs without any protective gear, they leave the exposed area in a sick and horrible state. The rigging works, cooling the system down.
They now have the option to seek help from a close NATO outfit, but Vostrikov refuses. Shortly, an American group contacts them, but they also turn down their offer. Tensions mount since Vostrikov's decisions do not sit well with the other officers. Soon, two officers mount a mutiny to overthrow Vostrikov. Later, the makeshift solution breaks, and the new guy Radtchenko, who earlier chickened out of the repair mission, goes in alone to fix the problem.
Vostrikov refuses to surface and look for help and orders that the sub go further down, which prompts the two officers to apprehend Vostrikov and subdue him by handcuffing him to a rail to install Polenin back to captain. However, when Polenin sees this, he releases Vostrikov and reprimands the two officers for their direct disobedience.
A fire that broke out in the torpedo room is contained and Radtchenko fixes the problem, he endures extreme radiation poisoning and it is Vostrikov who pulls him out to safety. Vostrikov's decision to dive down was really a move to avoid injuring other factions on the surface, in the event that there is a nuclear blast. With everything stabilized, he now plans to sink the ship, but they are retrieved by a Soviet sub just in time.
Back home in Russia, Vostrikov is tried and investigated for his actions during the crisis, but an emboldened and sympathetic Polenin defends him to the higher-ups, expressing his utmost respect towards the captain who saved their lives.
Many years later, Vostrikov and Polenin reunite at a military commemorative event, remembering the fallen men killed during the K-19 radiation exposure.
Best part of story, including ending:
It is a soldier's heroism at its finest. Showing honor and courage when it is needed the most.
Best scene in story:
When the soldiers had to go in and connect the water pipes, risking their lives by exposing themselves to radiation. They had no choice and just had to man up and do it.
Opinion about the main character:
Vostrikov is a born leader. He won't take anyone's excuses and upholds a high standard of professionalism and honor.
This is based on a true events of a Russian submarine. During the cold war, the only way the soviets cold ensure that the Americans did not fire nuclear missiles was to make the US know that it would face immediate retaliation. This was done by placing a nuclear sub near the United States. One of the subs was K-19. The crew called it the widowmaker because many died before the boat ever launched. On its maiden voyage, the K-19 had problems with its nuclear missiles and it is up to the crew to stop the missiles from exploding.
The review of this Movie prepared by Dashaun Montanez
This is a very, very slow movie that says very little--about a sub accident that kills some Ruskies. And yet the film is over two hours long, so they fill it with constant drills on the sub. Very gory scenes of dying crewmen.
The review of this Movie prepared by Steve