Arkady Renko (William Hurt), Chief Investigator of the Moscow Militia, stumbles upon three frozen corpses in Gorky Park one icy winter night. It’s his job to identify the victims but their faces have been carved from their heads, their fingertips sliced off and their teeth blown to smithereens with a shotgun. Identification is impossible, but Arkady is determined to unearth a solution.
One possible clue is the skates the female corpse is wearing. Inscribed on the blades is the name of Irina Asanova, but when Arkady tracks her down he discovers she is still alive, a former Siberian dissident now working in a menial capacity for Mosfilm. Irina (Joanna Pacula) claims her skates were stolen.
But her acquaintance with the American businessman Jack Osborne (Lee Marvin) – a dealer in sable furs – intrigues Arkady.
Decapitating two of the corpses, Arkady persuades Professor Andreev (Ian McDiarmid), an anthropologist at the Institute of Ethnology, to reconstruct their facial likeness from the remaining tissue and skull. Andreev does this, revealing the identity of two of the corpses. More interesting still, Arkady discovers that both were acquainted with Osborne.
“I met Stalin once, too,” Osborne defends himself, “does that mean I conspired to have him killed as well?”. But Arkady is convinced of Osborne’s guilt and sets about uncovering a nest of vipers that incriminates even the highest KGB officials.
The cast also includes Brian Dennehy, Ian Bannen, Michael Elphick, Richard Griffiths, Alexei Sayle and Alexander Knox.
Gorky Park is a first-rate adult thriller, with quality and intelligence rarely witnessed. Michael Apted and his crew shot the film in Helsinki, Finland, and yet the film boasts an authenticity that defies contradiction.
KGB Agent Rurik
KGB Agent Nicky