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The Aquarium (Akwarium)

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Product Details

  • Actors: Janusz Gajos, Yuri Smolsky, Henryk Bista, Witold Pyrkosz
  • Directors: Antoni Krauze
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Color, Full Screen, NTSC, Subtitled
  • Language: Polish
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: Unrated
  • Studio: POLART
  • DVD Release Date: July 24, 2007
  • Run Time: 140 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000Q66GY2
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #440,155 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Special Features


Editorial Reviews

Based on a true tale of intrigue and espionage, AQUARIUM follows the feats of Soviet GRU spy Victor Suvorov who wandered the capitals of Western Europe uncovering state secrets and classified information. Suvorov s GRU unit whose headquarters was dubbed the Aquarium was more covert than even the KGB.
Based on Suvorov s novel Inside the Aquarium, the film boasts stellar performances by veteran Polish actors Janusz Gajos (The Decalogue; White) and Witold Pyrkosz (Kingsize).

Customer Reviews

3.8 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Paul S Boyer on January 15, 2009
Verified Purchase
This film is well acted, and follows closely the account in the book from which it was derived. It has an authenticity which shames the most popular spy-story writers. This is the real thing; and although the Cold War is over, I have no doubt that the same sorts of people, and the same organization is alive and well in Putin's Russia. This story tells how it all works, from the agent's viewpoint.

In watching the movie, I had the same feeling that the book engendered: what do these men get out of being in such an organization as the GRU? It takes over one's whole life, and as new recruits are plainly told, there is no leaving except through the crematorium chimney. If you really understand what is going on in the story, you will feel chilled to the soul -- but I fear that most Western viewers may miss the point. They may be looking for more explosive action. There is some physical roughness in this movie, but the real brutality is to the spirit.

The acting is excellent, and includes Janusz Gajos and others of some of the most popular actors in Poland. The English subtitles are rather good.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Richard Brzostek VINE VOICE on March 17, 2008
The Aquarium (Akwarium) is a Polish movie the communist censors would probably not have allowed to be made. It was produced in 1996, just a few years after the collapse of Communism in Poland. The Aquarium brings us into the secret world of Soviet espionage. It is based on a true story of Victor Suvorov, who worked for GRU, a secret organization similar to the KGB.

The story shows us the transformation of Victor from a reckless tank commander to a calculating spy. The movie shows us how Victor is selected to join this ultra secret organization. We get to see a glimpse of the training and world of tricks they must endue where they are never sure if they are on a real mission or are just being tested. Victor is warned during his inanition into GRU that nothing ever works out with the Aquarium and that whoever joins it is in for life and the only way to leave it is dead.

One aspect that makes this film fascinating is that is more than entertainment and provides so much education. The movie touches upon a topic that is not too well know. The Aquarium is the name of the headquarters of GRU (an organization that is not nearly as well known as the KGB). The interesting story is also pared with great acting. The mentor of Victor is played by Janusz Gajos who, as usual, performs superbly. There is great drama and suspense in this spy thriller.

The Aquarium is probably not for everyone as it is a serious movie. Those that enjoy drama/thrillers are most likely to enjoy it. Put aside your ideas about spies and get ready for an amazing story based on life. The faint of heart should be warmed, there will be more than a few shocking parts along the way in this thriller.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Eugenia on March 10, 2008
I have stumbled across this movie in my library. It is a true story about the secret Russian intelligence group called GRU. This was elite espionage group in competition for the information gathering business with KGB. Its members are young middle class Russian men, indoctrinated in believing that USSR is superior to other countries and parts of the world. In their patriotic fervor to serve their country, these young men find themselves in western Europe recruiting western engineers, scientists and small business owners to sell them information about the latest technology developed by the military and private business. This is a true story of the young Russian spy who over time realises that he is dispensable to GRU and in order to save his life, he turns himself over to the British. Sentenced to death in absence by USSR courts, this spy is hidden in the west where he is protected by the British secret police and writes books while in undisclosed exile. If you are fan of the Polish film, you will recognize some of the better known Polish actors.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Anthony Prudori on December 11, 2013
I was interested in this one because I'd read Suvorov's books, including that of (almost) the same title Inside Aquarium The Making Soviet .

Good points:
- The movie follows the book's narrative reasonably closely, with some writing recognizably word-for-word from the book.
- Interesting watching Soviet-era equipment used the way it was being used in "the old (Cold War) days".

Not-so-good points:
- I understand next to no Russian, but it was a bit odd hearing the dialogue in what appears to be Polish (a lot of the words the English subtitles said were being said didn't click with the words coming out of the Soviets' mouths).
- English subtitles needed work (spelling errors, grammar).
- Acting was a bit clunky, less than dazzling.

Bottom line: nice to have in my war film collection, follows the book reasonably closely, but not spectacularly executed.
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