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Countdown to Zero

This documentary examines the history of nuclear weapons and their proliferation, beginning with the development of the atomic bomb that was used to destroy Hiroshima and Nagasake. Much of the film is spent examining the ways that highly enriched uranium can be bought and sold. The film has some good information to share, and it shows \clearly why a world with nuclear weapons is not a good place to live. There is also an impressive array of scientists, political leaders, and diplomats who weigh in on various aspects of nuclear weapons proliferation. As a documentary, however, I feel that it is rather one-sided and incomplete. The film never really comes to grips with the real question of why the US and Russia should have nuclear weapons and no one else can/should. It fails to investigate the role of both superpowers in the proliferation of weapons and in creating a world where nuclear weapons are felt to be necessary. Without getting at the core issues, the answers will be speculative and fear will abound; this is the message I would have liked to have seen. Given that reservation, I still give the film a thumbs-up for its effective execution and documentation of a problem that has no easy solution.

About Gary Burkholder

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