Sunday, 16 June 2019

Chernobyl [2019]

The riveting HBO miniseries Chernobyl – which took off from Svetlana Alexievich’s Voices from Chernobyl – had, at its core, a deeply haunting tenet that was not just relevant here, but is incredibly prescient across nations and eras – half-truths and lies that nation-states resort to in order to project a false veneer of itself to the world outside and to its gullible people within. And, in its gripping, multi-angled depiction of the Chernobyl disaster, the massive cleanup activities that followed in its aftermaths and, ultimately, its gargantuan human, environmental and economic costs, also makes this a frighteningly cautionary exercise on the ticking time bomb that nuclear energy is. The miniseries, comprising of five episodes, opened along the lines of a fatalistic Cold War thriller as we see the eminent Soviet chemist Valery Legasov (Jared Harris) – now a pariah of the State apparatus – performing his final act of dissent before hanging himself. The narrative then shifts 2 years back to 1986, starting with the catastrophic accident – which those in charge tried their best to downplay and even hide from the world outside – followed by the humongous job to first douse the meltdown and then limit its horrific impact. The task is led by the melancholic Legasov and the world-weary career politician Boris Shcherbina (Stellan Skarsgård), and they’re joined by a dogged nuclear physicist (Emily Watson) hell-bent find out the truth. The moody, slow-burning and fabulously enacted show (the Harris- Skarsgård chemistry was especially memorable) compellingly portrayed the various players involved – the politicos, the KGB represented by its cynical Deputy Chairman (Alan Williams), the plant engineers helmed by the volatile Dyatlov (Paul Ritter), and the valiant aid provided by firemen, coal miners and countless other volunteers in this discomfiting endeavor.

Director: Johan Renck / Created by: Craig Mazin
Genre: TV Miniseries/Historical Drama/Political Drama/Docufiction
Language: English
Country: US / UK

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