Subscribe      List an Event or Business      Invite a Writer      Write for WN      Writers      Other Locations

Kursk - Film Review

Home > Everywhere > Movie Reviews | Long Weekend | Indoor | Nightlife | Rainy Day
by Cris (subscribe)
I am an Organiser of the Group Hiking South East Qld and More on Meetup. Visit the website at is free to join all the activities posted on the hiking group.
Published June 6th 2021
A movie based on the real events of K-141 Kursk
The movie is based on the true story of the K-141 Kursk, a Russian submarine that faced a devastating explosion and sank at the bottom of the frigid Barents Sea on 12 August 2000.

The Kursk was the most advanced submarine in the Russian fleet. It was thought to be unsinkable for the technology and the design. The submariners who survived the blast didn't have any choice but to wait for the navy to rescue them. The survivors knew nothing about all the bureaucracy and the political storm that kept delaying the rescue.

After the explosion, the submarine Kursk sank about 100 metres to the bed of the Barents Sea between Russia and Norway. Due to incompetency, a leaking torpedo was put on board and when it exploded it detonated all the other torpedo. The explosion was registered by the seismographs in many countries and it measured 4.2 on the Ritcher scale.

Many submariners were killed by the explosion, but 23 men survived the blast and sealed themselves in a compartment in the stern of the submarine.

The movie is directed by Thomas Vinterberg, the screenplay was written by Robert Rodat. The movie is based on Moore's book A Time to Die. The cast included Matthias Schoenaerts as Mikhail Averin, Lea Seydoux as Tanya Averina, Pit Bukowsky as Maxim and Colin Firth as Commodore David Russell. The movie is well directed and the actors' performances are brilliant.

The movie takes a look at the Russian navy and the inefficiency and incompetency that lead to disaster for the submarine Kursk.

K-141 Kursk Russian Submarine Movie, Thomas Vinterberg, Robert Moore, Matthias Schoenaerts, Lea Seydoux, Pit Bukowski, Colin Firth, Russian Navy,
A scene from the movie Kursk. Photo from

The Kursk submarine had a great reputation. It was built to withstand a direct hit from a torpedo. The outer hull was constructed using an 8 mm steel plate covered by up to 80 mm of rubber, which minimised the possibility to be detected by other submarines or surface vessels. The inner pressure hull was made of high-quality 50 mm steel plate. The two hulls were separated by a 1-to-2 m gap. The inner hull was divided into nine watertight compartments. The boat was as long as two jumbo jets.

The morning of the 12th August, the Kursk submarine departed from the dock into the Barents Sea for a summer exercise. The Kursk sunk during the naval drill in the Barents Sea after explosions within the submarine. The Russian government refused help from foreign governments for five days before agreeing to aid from the British and Norwegian governments. The explosion killed 118 Russian submariners.

K-141 Kursk Russian Submarine Movie, Thomas Vinterberg, Robert Moore, Matthias Schoenaerts, Lea Seydoux, Pit Bukowski, Colin Firth, Russian Navy,
Wreck of K-141 Kursk in a floating dock at Roslyakovo. Photo from

K-141 Kursk Russian Submarine Movie, Thomas Vinterberg, Robert Moore, Matthias Schoenaerts, Lea Seydoux, Pit Bukowski, Colin Firth, Russian Navy,
The British deep submersible rescue vehicle LR5. Photo from

Oscar-winner Colin Firth stars in the submarine disaster movie Kursk as Commodore David Russell.

"Part of the problem was the whole business of what was allowed and what wasn't allowed. Obviously, a big navy exercise is going to be watched. Submarines by their nature act secretively and quietly. There are lots of suspicions between nations, of course, one side is going to assume that other countries are putting their submarines to watch what's going on.

This is the war game that happened. People were listening and taking photos, all the countries of concern. But the extraordinary about moments like that is sailors want to rescue sailors. When it was understood that there was a tragedy, a potential tragedy, it triggered brotherhood and commonality between seamen.

The rescue became paramount especially for a man like commodore David Russell. Probably the most salient part of the story I am involved in is my relationship with Peter Simonischek character Admiral Andrey Grudzinsky.

A man can be Russian, another can be from NATO, from the start they knew each other. The fact that both of them went through the same thing. Within the community of sailors, the navy personnel, I think the brotherhood is even tighter in the submariners.

There is another moment that is mentioned, all the submariners whether they are Norwegian, Russian or British have a particular and strong interest in what is going on and the stronger urge to do everything possible to save those men.
" - Colin Firth talks about the movie in an interview (KURSK Interview Highlights - VII PILLARS ENTERTAINMENT HK)

Kursk is a compelling story about survival, about making decisions in dramatic situations and about the human spirit. The riveting movie will make you sad, make you laugh and it will enrage you.


Kursk is free to watch on SBS on Demand -
Help us improve  Click here if you liked this article  16
Share: email  facebook  twitter
Your Comment
I've seen that movie, it is good, sad though. I haven't read some of your latest articles so I'll have to catch up on them. Cheers
by telor (score: 1|78) 13 days ago
Popular Articles