The Atom: A Love Affair

The Atom: A love Affair ⭐️⭐️⭐️

1h 29min – Documentary – United Kingdom 2019

DirectorVicki Lesley. Cast Lily ColeBertrand BarréTony BennMarcel BoiteuxGabrielle HechtMark HertsgaardBernard Ingham,Ralph NaderKenneth OsgoodJürgen Trittin.

The history of nuclear energy right from the start, as comprehensive with as it can be, all its perks and controversies. A potentially very heavy and difficult subject explained with extreme clarity and lightness of touch making it very accessible while at the same time, without making sound too childish (though I must say the narration by Lily Cole was a bit too “gentle children TV” for my taste) It is a thoroughly well researched documentary both in terms of its facts, details and its use of archive. There are in fact lovely quirky finds, from naive 60s films from the early days of the atom, to forgotten clips with the then-actor Ronald Reagan publicising Nuclear power or a very young Tony Blair too. 

Despite being a British product and containing several British contributors, this is a global story with interviews from all over the world.

Right from the start as we hear both Trump and Obama talking about Nuclear power we know this is going to be a divisive subject. 

However beyond this intriguing premise, “Atom” never quite follows that up the political analysis to its full potential. Never seems to go quite deep enough in exposing the the pitfalls of either side of the argument (surprising, despite talking about the danger of nuclear power and the various famous disasters from Chernobyl to Fukushima, we never actually see anyone who’s suffered from radiations).

It is eventually a fairly straight forward and tame documentary which is so careful about not taking sides that actually it probably becomes just as cold as its subject itself and in the end you feel like you’ve watched one of those documentaries you used to watch in school. You might have learnt something new but it hasn’t quite challenged you, made you angry or even freaked you out.

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