13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
Fascinating, bittersweet, effective,
This review is from: Gorky Park [DVD] (DVD)
It's winter and three corpses are found in Moscow's Gorky Park. They've had their faces and finger tips carved off. Arkady Renko, an honest, slightly obsessive Russian cop, is assigned to the case. He sets out to identify the bodies by reconstructing their faces, and as he gets closer he finds obstructions in his path. He finds a girl (Joanna Pacula) who was friends of the trio, a wealthy and ruthless American (Lee Marvin), an American cop (Brian Dennehy) out for blood, and more than he probably wants to know about sable coats and the animals they're made from. It becomes clear that corrupt higher-ups are involved in something with greater stakes than solving a triple murder. Hurt and Marvin do great jobs and are well matched.
This is a tight, very well constructed police procedural that is a little exotic, with the cops and functionaries being Russians. It's also a bit gloomy with a bittersweet ending, but it still works as a very watchable film. A lot of the outdoor shots were filmed in Helsinki, and the movie takes place in the winter. The atmosphere looks cold and oppressive. The contrast is striking with the scenes set in a pre-revolutionary bath and an expensive restaurant, both reserved for the use of privileged Soviet officials.
The book, by Martin Cruz Smith, is even better. Apted also directed Enigma, and I like both movies a lot.