Oceans spur mystery, oceans with massive submarines spur thrilling drama, oceans with massive Russian submarines bound for America spur dramatic tension that seals itself into a motion picture for the ages. The Hunt for Red October does not stop or hold back at any moment, always thriving forward from one twist to another. Building upon characters, setting, and deep intrigue, the consumer of such a movie is left at the edge of their seat, wondering, What will really happen next? The beauty of The Hunt for Red October is not isolated to the star studded cast or the dramatic tension, but encapsulates the best of story writing. Although it may be thought of as a common action movie, its plots entangling lines leave it far from that point. Exactly when the audience has figured out the next turn, they are left befuddled as a new surprise leaves them wanting more.
Characters always promote a movie along building the background story, adding to the setting, and ultimately charming or burning the audiences heart. Red Octobers crew a hardened cast of Soviet Union sailors on their motherlands newest nuclear submarine takes on a life of their own. The intrigue wrapped with mystery the audience endures throughout the movie begins immediately with the cast. Although the first inclination is to perceive Captain Ramius and company as the evolving antagonist, something inside of you wants to cheer for them. Their over-zealousness to the motherland is sardonic in style. Although the audience does not know immediately what, there is a deeper meaning to every motive of the characters creating a crew of Soviets that leaves questioning their own perception upon the Cold War.
However, the characters that make The Hunt for Red October so legendary extends to the pursuing American submarine; a crew of American patriots that are as dedicated to their cause as their Soviet counterparts. Admiral Greer demands attention from the outset of his appearance on deck as the man whom the plot will hinge upon. His intention will push and pull the intentions and actions of all others in the movie - including the main protagonist Jack Ryan. It is the relationship between Greer and Ryan that demands the most attention in order to figure out the remaining plot. Action and over-the-top characterization is not what makes Jack Ryan the American Hero he is in this movie he is composed of a deep backstory that builds as a subplot to his own actions and relationships that hold the fate of the other characters. Ryan epitomizes the complicated plot and writing of The Hunt for Red October he is not only a character but an enthralling plot device.
Character writing alone does not complete the package; the cast brings these characters to life and engrains their lives into the audiences mind. Sean Connery, Alec Baldwin, Tim Curry, Scott Glenn, and James Earl-Jones, to name a few, each take their Russian or American support cast and make them bigger than the screen they are eternalized upon. The acting is the finishing tone for the movie, for the cast does not only bring out the best of those around them, but also brings out the subtle details of the plot. Much like the ocean Red October is sailing in, the acting sails through complicated themes and tones of patriotism to bring to life the intentions of the author.
On its own, the Red October is an intimidating submarine. However, the audience immediately perceives the Red October is alive with its crews true intentions. The submarine is representative of larger stakes; stakes that extend beyond the crew and into the nations. The observations the audience makes from each intertwining moment is derived from a character and plot point building an inbound plot point. Much like the submarines in the movie, the plot writing and characters direct themselves onto dire paths that do not answer themselves fully until the end of the movie. And in this intertwining of philosophical patriotism, The Hunt for Red October is more than a story of two super-powered submarines on the screen. It is the story of Russia and America at the height of the Cold War ultimately embodied in a determined Russian Captain, an insightful American Admiral, and Jack Ryan the man who represents the undertone of the traditional American Patriot caught in the middle of the bloodiest bloodless war the world has observed.