'K-19' inaccurate, Russians say

Sunday, July 21, 2002

MOSCOW -- The new Harrison Ford submarine thriller "K-19: The Widowmaker" hasn't yet hit Russian cinemas, but it's already getting panned by experts here who advised the film that opens nationwide Friday in the United States.

Directed by Kathryn Bigelow and co-starring Liam Neeson, the movie is based on a 1961 accident on board a Russian nuclear submarine that came close to a Chernobyl-style meltdown in the North Atlantic.

"This film isn't about Russians, but about how Americans want to see Russians," Igor Kurdin, who leads a St. Petersburg-based group of retired submariners, told Izvestia newspaper in an interview printed Friday.

Veterans' groups have said they would sue the filmmakers, Izvestia reported, over alleged inaccuracies such as the heavy drinking habits of the submariners in the film and what they view as an incorrect portrayal of the conflict in leadership between the submarine's two top officers, played by Ford and Neeson.

The film's Russian premiere is scheduled for October in St. Petersburg. Russian distributors have pledged 1 percent of the proceeds for families of victims of the K-19 accident.

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