2000 Disaster Brought to the Screen
Movies are notorious for historical inaccuracy. Still, at times some rise to great heights. I don’t know if The Command (2018) will be considered a classic one day, but it is a powerful film. In 2000 the Russian submarine Kursk sank in the Barents Sea, Arctic waters. I knew the outcome, but the story is so masterfully told that I questioned my memory. It follows the plight of the 25 or so sailors who survived the horrific explosions and have sealed themselves in a compartment and await rescue. It also focuses on the anguish of the families and the politics of the incident. At the time, Russia was impoverished, its equipment in disrepair, its best assets sold to raise cash. Worse, it had its stubborn pride, and refused the help of a modern British vessel until it was too late. Screenwriter Robert Rodat creates a plausible scenario on the crews’ behavior, and he tugs at heartstrings in terms of the sorrow, frustration and anger of the helpless families as the hierarchy clings to its old ways of secrecy and deceit. I got misty. I’m embarrassed to say I did not know that Rodat was the sole writer of two major works: Saving Private Ryan (1998), as good as any war movie ever made, and The Patriot (2000), which was popular but I didn’t like. I recognized only two members of the large cast: Colin Firth as the commander of the British ship, and the legendary Max Von Sydow as a Russian admiral who toes the line as if the totalitarians were still in charge. The lead players are European and each has extensive credits. Unfamiliar faces always give an air of authenticity to roles, at least for me. The dialogue is all in English. As usual in the age of CGI, the effects are spectacular. The running time is just under two hours. Despite the harrowing ordeal, there is no gross out violence, and there are instances of humor to leaven the proceedings. 11,000+ users at IMDb have rated The Command, forging to a consensus of 6.6 on a scale of ten, too low in my estimation. It was adapted from Robert Moore’s book, A Time to Die. It failed at the box office, bringing in less than seven million against a budget of $20 million. People are missing out on a good picture. I’m sure it infuriated Soviet diehards — too bad. The USSR was an evil empire, as President Reagan so famously proclaimed. The event occurred in the early days of Putin’s reign. He is not mentioned or seen in the film, an unfortunate omission. A brief flash of his face on TV would have sufficed.
Here’s an amusing headline from foxnews.com: “Broadcast networks’ impeachment viewership falls short of soap operas.”
And another: “Arizona driver caught in HOV lane with skeleton riding shotgun.” And here’s a pic:
The floating book shop was rained out today. My thanks to whoever bought Vito’s Day at Amazon, where a print copy and Kindle version sold this week.
My Amazon Author page: https://www.amazon.com/Vic-Fortezza/e/B002M4NLJE
Read Vic’s Stories, free: http://fictionaut.com/users/vic-fortezza