Review: ‘The Hunt for Red October’

The Hunt for Red October is a terrific adventure yarn. Tom Clancy's 1984 Cold War thriller has been thoughtfully adapted to reflect the mellowing in the US-Soviet relationship.

The Hunt for Red October is a terrific adventure yarn. Tom Clancy’s 1984 Cold War thriller has been thoughtfully adapted to reflect the mellowing in the US-Soviet relationship.

Sean Connery is splendid as the renegade Soviet nuclear sub captain pursued by CIA analyst Alec Baldwin and the fleets of both superpowers as he heads for the coast of Maine. The filmmakers have wisely opted to keep the story set in 1984 – ‘shortly before Gorbachev came to power’, as the opening title puts it.

Looking magnificent in his captain’s uniform and white beard, Connery scores as the Lithuanian Marko Ramius, a coldblooded killer and a meditator on Hindu scripture.

Baldwin’s intelligent and likable performance makes his Walter Mittyish character come alive. He’s combating not only the bulk of the Soviet fleet but also the reflexive anti- Communist mentality of most pursuing on the US side – not including his wise and avuncular CIA superior James Earl Jones.

The Industrial Light & Magic special visual effects unit does yeoman work in staging the action with cliffhanger intensity.

1990: Best Sound Effects Editing.

Nominations: Best Editing, Sound

The Hunt for Red October

Production

Paramount. Dir John McTiernan; Producer Mace Neufeld; Screenplay Larry Ferguson, Donald Stewart, [John Milius]; Camera Jan De Bont; Editor Dennis Virkler, John Wright; Music Basil Poledouris Art Dir Terence Marsh

Crew

(Color) Widescreen. Available on VHS, DVD. Extract of a review from 1990. Running time: 137 MIN.

With

Sean Connery Alec Baldwin Scott Glenn Sam Neill James Earl Jones Joss Ackland
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