The Hunt for Red October may be a fictionalized account, but the general Cold War era Russian submarine scenario in fact did happen shortly before 1990. A few Google searches proves how this timeless recreation of a supposedly unfilmable wartime predicament respects the real scenario. Today, it still makes a great history lesson to teach teens what the Cold War looked like. Unfortunately, the approach lacks a point, stirring up no interest to learn more about these historical events; the main character also has little to resonate with, as he kills and lies right within his introduction.
Off-putting graphic violence aside, immense humanity churns the motion picture’s steam engine, as every character strives in some way to either find or protect the rogue submarine. Both sides to the issue receive a fair level of screentime, masterfully edited by Dennis Virkler (The Fugitive) and John Wright (Speed), who received a well-deserved Oscar nomination for their hard work.
Perhaps you will most relate to the character portrayed by an unrecognizably young Alec Baldwin (30 Rock, Saturday Night Live) who right away bids his daughter and wife a farewell before leaving to hunt for the sub. His first scene merely amplifies the little benefit it offers, as the women never get mentioned again. Although, considering the widely male target audience, it hardly deserves any complaints…
…as John McTiernan’s (Die Hard, Predator) crisp direction stirs up some strong acting by the ensemble cast. Sean Connery (Dr. No, The Untouchables) gives the most impactful performance; even after committing a cold-blooded murder, he remains calm. He earns your sympathy as the dark exterior matches his interior.
The claustrophobic submarine which cramps you into these men’s journeys offers the right chilling feel inside such a large aquatic weapon. The blood-colored lights set an unforgettable contrast against the murky blue oceanic sequences, utilized by McTiernan with the appropriate sound design accompanied by a heavenly choir. Granting, he should have exploited more culture outside the submarines, as nothing outside the soldiers’ perspective influences their conflict.
In fact, we see a little too much of the submarine battle. The producers failed to understand that their technology wasn’t ready to stage a realistic underwater battle with torpedoes and metal scraps floating away. From the perspective of 2017, the obvious superimposed matte effects damage the experience. The Hunt for Red October could honestly benefit from a current remake to generate better effects.
Yet as a product of the early nineties, McTiernan’s project ultimately pleases men across all ages. Even if the slightly monotonous tone slacks down the heart, boy does it pay off well in the end! It’s perfect for dads who want something intelligent enough to appreciate the thoughtfulness, and it’s perfect for teens who just want simple 1980’s action. For you fathers and sons out there who now consider giving this a watch, maybe afterwards you will be motivated to join (or not to join) the Navy.
If there is a specific movie you’d like to see graded, or if you are interested in guest blogging for my site, please email me at Trevor@TrevorsViewOnHollywood.com for your recommendations.
Have a great weekend, and happy watching!
“The Hunt for Red October (1990).” IMDb. Publisher, Amazon. <http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0099810/?ref_=rvi_tt>.
Ramius, Marko. “Image Gallery, 10/20.” Digital image. Keyword Suggest Encyclopedia. 2016. Web. <http://keywordsuggest.org/gallery/775870.html>.