Chernobyl - A Review

Chernobyl has screened on Sky Atlantic over the last few weeks. It represents a dramatic representation of the disaster back in 1986, which for a lot of people, is still in living memory.

The people who staffed the reactor experienced an explosion during a test around 1:25am. They didn’t expect this to happen. The whole incident led to an explosion that devastated the surrounding areas with radioactive contamination. This acts as the backdrop for the drama written by Craig Mazin. The plot unfolds from a wide range of angles, from those who live nearby, to miners who are trucked in to stop the radiation leaking in to the ground under the reactor. Each story is driven with a personal narrative, and the desperation of the situation soon unfolds.

For those people who were watching the news at the time, things did look bleak and uncertain as to what would happen. The film allows us to see things that we couldn’t see at the time due to the secret nature of the Soviet Union. The authorities at the time wanted to cover up the way the reactor had been engineered, which led to the disaster. All of this is beautifully, yet hauntingly revealed to us through the film. Paul Ritter does a sterling job of playing the part of Dyatlov, the engineer who was in denial early on that anything bad had happened, and ordered his colleague to go and have a look at the reactor to report back on how it looked.

However well Ritter did in his role, he would not be able to surpass Jared Harris, who played the scientist Legasov called in to help deal with the clean up and the reporting of the problem. His personal anguish is evident as the nature of the events unfold.

Teams of military are portrayed in the ‘most dangerous place on Earth’ as they clean up the debris on the roof of the exploded reactor building. Wild animals are ‘controlled’ as they…

To top this, the direction and attention to detail, really pays this medium justice as it feels like you are really watching the events as they happened. This is a testament to those people who really were there. Had this drama been hammed up in any way, it would have disrespected their personal sacrifice. Unfortunately, this film had to be made, but hopefully the lessons from it will mean that as a species, we don’t have to face anything like this again.