Saturday, October 25, 2014

Gorky Park

Long ago I read three of the Arkady Renko novels by Martin Cruz Smith, the most famous of which is Gorky Park. I had always really liked the character of Renko, a melancholy man who always seems to face impossible obstacles to solving the murders for which he is the chief investigator, yet he has a doggedness of character that simply refuses to ever give up. When I found out there are now eight Renko novels, I decided to read them all, and I've really been enjoying myself.
 Today I rewatched the movie Gorky Park, the only one of the novels adapted to film. It's a decent movie, but I was shocked to realize that in my mind I had erased the fact that William Hurt played Renko and replaced him with another actor, Stephen Rea. When I thought about it, I realized it is because Stephen Rea ideally represents the way Arkady Renko appears in my mind as I read the books. William Hurt is a good actor and does a creditable job in the role, but he was the wrong choice for the part. It really belonged to Stephen Rea, whose demeanor and style perfectly represent Renko.
For those who haven't read the books and enjoy stories set primarily in Russia or simply like good detective mysteries, I'm including the links below.


  1. Funny how the mind does that. Obviously the character impression was a strong one.

  2. I never thought about Stephen Rea as Renko, but now that you mention it, he does have the cynical, self-effacing attitude of Renko in a lot of his other roles.