EVERYTHING ABOUT A MOVIE?
|COUNTDOWN TO ZERO (director/writer: Lucy Walker; cinematographers: Gary Clarke/Robert Chappell/Bryan Donnell/Nick Higgins; editors: Brad Fuller/Brian Johnson; music: Peter Golub; cast: Graham Allison, James Baker III, Bruce Blair; Runtime: 89; MPAA Rating: PG; producer: Lawrence Bender; Magnolia; 2010)|
its aim was to scare me, it succeeded."
Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz
Am alarmist doomsday
doc that's passionately written and directed by Lucy Walker
Playground"). If its aim
was to scare me, it succeeded. It tells us in no uncertain terms that
there's no such thing as an absolutely foolproof safety system to
prevent the release of nuclear weapons, and that just because the Cold
War ended doesn't mean the threat of nuclear war has completely
dissipated. It tells us that “by
accident, or miscalculation, or by madness” there's the possibility of
a nuclear attack as long as countries have nuclear weapons. Walker
thereby spends the rest of the film telling in frightening factual
detail how close we came in a number of incidents to having a major
nuclear disaster because of accident or miscalculation,
and how close terrorists such as Osama bin Laden are to getting nuclear
weapons (which they said they would use on America if they possessed
This well-researched doc
that's structured around ’s well-received 1961
to the United Nations
about disarmament, strongly builds its case in modern times that only
zero nuclear weapons can be a safeguard from a nuclear attack. Among
many possible disaster scenarios presented, the one in 1995 was the scariest. It details a nuclear
near-miss when someone in authority in Russia mistakenly did not report
that the USA was conducting a nuclear test after informed and Russia
went into its nuclear retaliation mode as refused
to believe that the United States was attacking his
We're told that these
following countries are nuclear: USA, Russia, UK, France, China,
Israel, India, Pakistan and North Korea. What's even more frightening
is that 40 other countries have the capability of building a nuclear
weapon, as all it takes is getting the materials--which we're told is
not as difficult to get as one is led to believe.
The slickly delivered important public information film convincingly makes its point early on and leaves no room for counter-arguments. By using well-designed animations, carefully constructed recreations and interesting file footage, the agit-prop doc fills us with enough info to know what we are currently facing if we don't get a handle on things and work to eliminate nuclear weapons as part of the world's arsenal or else it tells us we will inevitably face an apocalyptic catastrophe.
REVIEWED ON 12/18/2010 GRADE: A
Dennis Schwartz: "Ozus' World Movie Reviews"
© ALL RIGHTS RESERVED DENNIS SCHWARTZ