Gorky Park 1983 ***

Michael Apted adapted Martin Cruz Smith’s bestseller for this wintry thriller, with Helsinki doubling for Moscow. Three faceless bodies are discovered in the snow, leading investigator Arkady Renko (William Hurt) into a cat and mouse game with Soviet authorities, with American agent Jack Osbourne (Lee Marvin) also blocking his path. With a screenplay by Dennis Potter, Gorky Park is very much a product of the Cold War, building the police procedural into an international conspiracy; unusually, there’s a selection of Scots playing Russians, with Alexander Knox, Ian Bannen and Scots comedian Rikki Fulton amongst the top brass who disapprove of Renko’s investigation. Gorky Park is slow but sure in its development, with some pathos too from Joanna Pacula’s love interest.


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