Gorky Park (1983)

Gorky Park (1983)

Taglines: It all began with three faceless bodies in the snow…

An investigator on the Moscow police force relentlessly pursues the solution to a triple homicide which occurred in Moscow’s Gorky Park. He finds that no one really wants him to solve the crime because it is just the tip of a complex conspiracy which involves the highest levels of the Moscow city government.

Gorky Park is a 1983 film based on the novel Gorky Park by Martin Cruz Smith. It was directed by Michael Apted. Dennis Potter won a 1984 Edgar Award for his screenplay for the film.

The main stars of the film are William Hurt as Arkady Renko, Lee Marvin as Jack Osborne, Joanna Pacuła as Irina Asanova, Rikki Fulton as Major Pribluda, Brian Dennehy as William Kirwill, Ian McDiarmid as Professor Andreev, Michael Elphick as Pasha and Ian Bannen as Prosecutor Iamskoy. James Horner wrote the score. Ralf D. Bode was cinematographer.

Pacuła was nominated for a Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actress – Motion Picture and Elphick for a BAFTA Award for Best Supporting Actor. The film also featured Alexei Sayle as a black marketeer.

Gorky Park (1983) - Joanna Pacula

About the Story

Three young people are seen ice skating in Gorky Park. Three days later, Soviet militsiya officer Arkady Renko (William Hurt) investigates the discovery of their bodies a short distance from the skating rink. All have been shot in the chest and mouth; their faces and fingerprints have been completely removed. Renko is left anxious and paranoid when the KGB refuse to take over the investigation. Renko enlists the help of Professor Andreev (Ian McDiarmid) to reconstruct their faces.

At a weekend getaway at the dacha of Chief Prosecutor Iamskoy (Ian Bannen), Renko makes the acquaintance of the American sable importer Jack Osborne (Lee Marvin) and his girlfriend Irina Asanova (Joanna Pacuła). During his investigation, Renko crosses paths with William Kirwill (Brian Dennehy), a New York detective who is in the Soviet Union investigating the disappearance of his brother James.

Renko is eventually able to piece together the victims’ identities: James Kirwill, and two young Russians who were friends of Irina. He discovers that the three were busy constructing a chest for Osborne. Renko’s suspicion of Osborne mounts over time, during their polite but tense conversations in social settings. When Irina is attacked by a KGB officer who attempts to inject her with a fatal overdose, Renko saves her. Nursing her back to health in his apartment, they begin an affair.

Kirwill finally locates the barn where the three victims were building Osborne’s chest. It was designed to smuggle six sables out of the country and to break the Soviet monopoly on their fur, potentially earning Osborne millions. Irina stubbornly continues to believe that her friends are alive. Osborne had promised to smuggle them out of Soviet Union in return for their work; he tells Irina that they were successfully freed.

Renko confronts her with Prof. Andreev’s reconstructed head of one of her friends, forcing her to realize that they have been murdered by Osborne. She confesses the full details of the plot to him and then runs away. Renko and Kirwill go to Andreev’s to retrieve the second reconstructed head, but a KGB agent emerges with it in a box. They follow him, and Renko is crushed to find they are back at Iamskoy’s dacha. They watch from a distance as Osborne and Iamskoy supervise the destruction of the head by the KGB agent. To Kirwill’s horror, it is his brother’s head.

Gorky Park Movie Poster (1983)

Gorky Park (1983)

Directed by: Michael Apted
Starring: William Hurt, Lee Marvin, Brian Dennehy, Joanna Pacula, Michael Elphick, Rikki Fulton, Alexei Sayle, Ian McDiarmid, Ian Bannen
Screenplay by: Dennis Potter
Production Design by: Paul Sylbert
Cinematography by: Ralf D. Bode
Film Editing by: Dennis Virkler
Costume Design by: Richard Bruno
Set Decoration by: Michael Seirton
Music by: James Horner
Distributed by: Orion Pictures
Release Date: December 15, 1983