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This 5-part HBO miniseries is a historical fiction based on the actual events leading up to and after the Chernobyl nuclear disaster in Russia. It is quite a stunning piece of work. With the exception of a few minor scientific details, the film appears to be an accurate depiction of what happened. There is so much to be said about the artistry: The great writing and acting in which situation after situation arises in which complex moral and ethical decisions come into play; the pace of the film that creates a lot of suspense as the lead scientists unravel what actually happened that night in the reactor; and wonderful, wonderful camera work. The sets are incredible. The total film runs at about 7 hours, but the time flies by as you get absorbed into the various stories of the people who were involved and who responded. The film also serves as a lesson about the truth and how the Soviet Union tried to create its own version of the truth (a lesson that generalizes easily to contemporary times). I thought Episode 4 to be bleak but incredibly moving, and Episode 5 where it wraps up and we get the full story. Big thumbs up for a film that is not always easy to watch (for someone like me who has training in nuclear engineering, what they had people doing made me cringe in so many places) but is visually and intellectually stunning. It is well worth the time investment. (2019; 4.5 Stars)

About Gary Burkholder

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