Kursk: The Last Mission
Based on the unnecessary catastrophe of the Russian submarine disaster in 2000, Kursk: The Last Mission seeks to understand the minds of a doomed fleet and the butchery behind the rescue attempt of a condemned vessel as it sits on the bottom of the Barents Sea.
The film makes few mistakes in its attempts at character development, despite a running time that doesn’t serve the number of people it needs to represent. Factual accuracy is perhaps a factor, given the lack of support behind the movie other than that of the British perspective provided by Commodore David Russell (expertly portrayed by the apt Colin Firth).
Nonetheless, the feature is sufficiently dramatic, with well-built heart and equally traumatic heartbreak. Never has such an awfully unfunny polar bear joke been so well inserted as a demonstration of desperation.
Kursk’s strongest element, however, is sound – and more often, lack of. From the initial torpedo explosions that sink and incapacitate the sub in the first place, to the many silent interactions between the surviving crew, the terror behind loud noise and exaggerated silence is all too apparent.
Matthias Schoenaerts portrays Russian Navy captain-lieutenant Mikhail Averin expertly – his potential as a leading man is clear. Léa Seydoux as Averin’s wife is equally as powerful.
Initially, Vladimir Putin’s role in the disaster was to be included in the film, though this was cut before production started, and this is cleverly disguised in the deeper plot focus on the rescue attempt, despite the remnants of the political fallout included in the film. Even more compelling, however, is the comradery captured amongst the Russian naval fleet as their situation worsens and hope fades.
Beyond anything, Vinterberg’s production makes you angry at the need of small-minded men to ensure political protection above the lives of innocent soldiers. It does so with style, tension, and subtly brilliant performances.
Kursk: The Last Mission is released in select cinemas on 12th July 2019.
Watch the trailer for Kursk: The Last Mission here: