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K-19: The Widowmaker | 2002 | PG-13 | - 3.4.2

Set in 1961, at the height of the Cold War, a Soviet captain (Harrison Ford) is given the unenviable task of taking the nuclear missile submarine K-19, pride of the Soviet Navy, out for a test run. The trip is primarily a propaganda ploy, but rushing to make the sub seaworthy results in many mechanical failures. Personnel conflicts and a near mutiny also confront the captain, who has to decide whether following his Kremlin orders will risk the lives of his men. Reportedly inspired by actual events. Also with Liam Neeson, Peter Sarsgaard, George Anton and Steve Cumyn. [2:18]

SEX/NUDITY 3 - Men lined up on the surface of a submarine pull down their pants and expose their bare buttocks. Men also line up on the surface of a submarine and remove their clothing for decontamination (we see a few bare buttocks). Men and women kiss. A man tells another man to wrap a piece of foil around his "private parts," and men make reference to their "torpedoes" falling off.


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VIOLENCE/GORE 4 - Several men (7 total) go into a nuclear reactor room where a seal is leaking and they emerge vomiting, gasping and with badly burned skin from the radiation; we see them wrapped in bandages, shivering and bloody later, and one goes blind. A man is hit and killed by a truck and we see some blood on his head. A fire breaks out on a submarine and after it is extinguished we hear that two men have died. A mouse in a cage twitters and convulses before it dies from radiation poisoning. There are several tense scenes during drills, and people are injured: a nuclear submarine prepares for a test launch of a nuclear missile and as it reaches the countdown there's a system failure, a man gets his hand caught as a torpedo is hoisted by a chain (he screams and some blood squirts), a man knocks his head on a torpedo (he has blood on his forehead), men are knocked over, and food and other objects are thrown onto the floor when the ship dives. A submarine crashes through a thick layer of ice as it rises to the surface and the men on board are thrown around. Two men hold another man at gunpoint. A man jumps overboard as a sub begins to dive. There is a reference made to 10 men having died before a submarine leaves dock. As a submarine dives the officers talk about "crush depth" and we see the hull beginning to buckle under the pressure. A missile is launched and we see a large smoke and fire plume. We hear of men dying from radiation poisoning. A man talks to Russian sailors about American propaganda and shows a film containing scenes of civil rights struggles: the KKK burning crosses, African-American people being beaten with clubs, attacked by guard dogs and sprayed with water cannons, etc.


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LANGUAGE 2 - 2 obscene hand gestures, 1 scatological term, 1 anatomical term, 2 mild obscenities.


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SUBSTANCE USE - People are shown drinking alcohol and smoking cigarettes in several scenes. There is a conversation about a man being drunk on duty; he's found sleeping.


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DISCUSSION TOPICS - War, the Cold War, communism, nuclear war, religious icons, propaganda, treason, surrender, courage, fear, heroism, authority, duty.

MESSAGE - War is inevitable, it's just when and who will strike first. Authority can be dead wrong.

CAVEATS

Be aware that while we do our best to avoid spoilers it is impossible to disguise all details and some may reveal crucial plot elements.

We've gone through several editorial changes since we started covering films in 1992 and older reviews are not as complete & accurate as recent ones; we plan to revisit and correct older reviews as resources and time permits.

Our ratings and reviews are based on the theatrically-released versions of films; on video there are often Unrated, Special, Director's Cut or Extended versions, (usually accurately labelled but sometimes mislabeled) released that contain additional content, which we did not review.


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