The Hunt for Red October (1990)
There are things that are always around which we choose to avoid thinking that they are no good, and will be a waste of time. We see everyone else have seen/got/read them. The same goes for The Hunt for Red October (1990) which I saw advertised many times, always turning my nose up to those cold war era film, as just that, a cold war era film. Accepting that I’m only human, I gave in, read the write up, sat back and began to watch one of Sean Connery‘s last films before going into semi-retirement.
After years of being on the side that spied on the Soviet Union as Britain’s finest spy James Bond takes on a role I never saw coming his way. A clever move for an actor who is known mostly for roles that are far lighter in tone. Earning his first Oscar late in life on The Untouchables (1987). I found him here as a commander of the finest and newest submarine in the Soviets navy fleet Marko Ramius who we later learn wants to defect from his adoptive country of Russia to a better life in the United States.
On the other side of the iron curtain in the world the late Tom Clancy we found one of many incarnations of Jack Ryan the C.I.A’s Bond this time in the form of Alec Baldwin who comes across photographs of a new submarine that is seen as a threat in the mid 1980’s. He is later the centre of attention as events under water heat up politically. Placing him in a situation he never thought would be in.
A star cast fills both sides of this film who come together in pursuit of the renegade crew equipped with the latest technology to mask their presence to other submarines. Full of tense moments that happen above and below the water. It’s those below the surface that are the most tense. It may look dated at times with the chunky kit and aesthetic, something that I grew up with in films, and forms of my nostalgia, as limited as it maybe being in my mid twenties.
There are times you think you know where the plot is moving, until you get the twists later on. The Russians are in control in this film, always holding back more than they are letting on. Whatever side they appear to be on. A gripping thriller that appears dated, yet never-failing to entertain in what should be a routine film, it’s anything but routine.
- Tom Clancy, ‘Hunt for Red October’ Author, Dies at 66 (thewrap.com)
- Film Friday: The Hunt for Red October (literaryetc.com)
- A look back at The Hunt for Red October (thestake.org)