Gorky Park (1983)

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Released 15-Sep-2004

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Thriller Theatrical Trailer
Rating Rated M
Year Of Production 1983
Running Time 123:15
RSDL / Flipper RSDL (55:40) Cast & Crew
Start Up Language Select Then Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By Michael Apted

Starring William Hurt
Lee Marvin
Brian Dennehy
Ian Bannen
Joanna Pacula
Michael Elphick
Richard Griffiths
Rikki Fulton
Alexander Knox
Alexei Sayle
Ian McDiarmid
Niall O'Brien
Henry Woolf
Case ?
RPI $19.95 Music James Horner

Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 1.0 (192Kb/s)
German Dolby Digital 1.0 (192Kb/s)
French Dolby Digital 1.0 (192Kb/s)
Italian Dolby Digital 1.0 (192Kb/s)
Spanish Dolby Digital 1.0 (192Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.59:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio Unknown Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English for the Hearing Impaired
German for the Hearing Impaired
Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

    First off...Message to MGM. This movie is NOT a horror film. For some reason, on the small promotional label attached to the review disc it refers to it as a horror film. I am not sure what the actual retail packaging says (as I do not have it) but hopefully it does not mislead horror fans into buying this film. On the other hand, this film IS a good quality action thriller from 1983 directed by Michael Apted, based on a novel by Martin Cruz Smith with a screenplay by none other than Dennis Potter of The Singing Detective fame.

    Gorky Park is a large park in the centre of Moscow, a bit like Hyde Park in Sydney or Central Park in New York. On a snowy winter's night, a guard finds the bodies of three people in the park, buried under the snow. Identification is impossible as their faces have been cut off, their fingertips removed and their teeth smashed. Assigned to the investigation is Chief Investigator Renko (William Hurt) of the militia or police force. It becomes obvious to Renko very early in the investigation that there is much more to this case than meets the eye, especially when the KGB arrive at the scene shortly after he does. The KGB officer is none other than Pribluda (Rikki Fulton) with whom Renko has an ongoing clash. To avoid giving away any of the plot twists, I will simply list the other important characters who become involved in the case:

    Ian McDiarmid (Palpatine from Star Wars I & II) and Alexei 'Didn't you kill my Bruvver?' Sayle also appear in small roles.

    This is a well made thriller, which is now slightly dated due to the changes which have occurred in Russia since 1983. Despite this, it is certainly worth watching and is quite exciting and intriguing, with some good action scenes and some well written plot twists. The acting is generally of a high standard and the bleak locations (which are actually in Sweden and Finland) really add to the tension and atmosphere of the film. There is the occasional slow spot but generally the plot moves along at a good pace.


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Transfer Quality


    The video quality is very good.

    The feature is presented in a 1.59:1 aspect ratio 16x9 enhanced. I cannot comment on the original aspect ratio of this film as I cannot find any information on it.

    The picture was reasonably clear and sharp throughout, with no evidence of low level noise. The shadow detail was decent but not spectacular.

    The colour was well rendered however the colour palette of this film is quite dull featuring browns, blacks and greys.

    The only artefacts were occasional specks of black or white and one spot of aliasing on a car grille at 90:40.

    There are subtitles in 7 languages including English for the hearing impaired. The English subtitles were clear, easy to read and virtually exact to the spoken word.

    The layer change occurs at 55:40 and is well placed and difficult to spot.

Video Ratings Summary
Shadow Detail
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts


    The audio quality is good but mono.

    This DVD contains five audio options, an English Dolby Digital 1.0 soundtrack encoded at 192 Kb/s and the same in German, French, Spanish & Italian. Strangely, the original film was released in stereo.

    Dialogue was clear and easy to understand and there was no problem with audio sync.

    The score of this film by James Horner is very good and adds extra atmosphere to the thriller sequences.

    The surround speakers and subwoofer were not used.

Audio Ratings Summary
Audio Sync
Surround Channel Use



    The menu included language and chapter selection functions and stills from the film.

Theatrical Trailer (2:10)

    A pretty good trailer that does contain some minor spoilers.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

    This movie is available in Region 1 in a very similar package, although reviews indicate that the picture quality may not be as good as the local version. The Region 2 release is the same disc exactly. I will give the Region 4 version the nod.


    A decent murder thriller from 1983 set in Moscow under Soviet rule.

    The video quality is very good.

    The audio quality is good but only mono.

    The disc has only a theatrical trailer as an extra.

Ratings (out of 5)


© Daniel Bruce (Do you need a bio break?)
Tuesday, November 09, 2004
Review Equipment
DVDPioneer DV667A DVD-V DVD-A SACD, using Component output
DisplaySony FD Trinitron Wega KV-AR34M36 80cm. Calibrated with Digital Video Essentials (PAL). This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 576i (PAL)/480i (NTSC).
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials.
AmplificationPioneer VSX-511
SpeakersBose 201 Direct Reflecting (Front), Phillips SB680V (Surround), Phillips MX731 (Center), Yamaha YST SW90 (Sub)

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