Chernobyl atomic disaster was one of the most catastrophic and legendary man-made disasters to have ever occurred on this planet. Just 12.5 pounds out of the total 250 pounds in reactor 4, consisting of enriched nuclear fuel threatened to destroy a major part of that time Soviet Union. To be honest, we were lucky, anything other than that if went wrong could have destroyed each organism from the earth in a matter of a few days. Well, leaving behind the technicalities I would jump into a cinematic review of the HBO miniseries called Chernobyl
Setting the scene
The dramatically paced drama depicting the disaster, kick starts with an old man spitting blood while recording some cassettes. The scene is eerie and leaves the viewers with many questions. Especially the tone set is light but intense and dark, just perfect for the upcoming episodes.
On the other hand was a dimly lit control centre of obviously the Nuclear Power Plant, under great turmoil. Screaming sirens, panicked faces and shattered glasses signify a nightmare coming true. Anatoly Dyatlov, the assistant chief engineer of the power plant was the man in charge and he assured everyone that everything’s under control diminishing the theories and facts his colleagues are putting forward. Barking orders and abusing.
This mini series is no doubt a cinematic achievement in true sense. Great work by Johan Renck, the director. And off course Craig Mazin and Johan Renck.
The story is mainly narrated from the view point of Valery Legasov, deputy director of Kurchatov Institute of Atomic Energy. The recordings he leaves behind before committing suicide at approx 1:23:45 am at night is the story. The episode is named 1:23:45 which is the time Chernobyl happened. With some poetic liberty Legasov’s suicide is timed the same on the 2nd anniversary of the accident.
Occasionally, we watch another perspective of the story from the eyes of a woman who lost her husband, who happened to be a firefighter and was exposed to severe radiation and died a few months later. Her story depicts the struggle of the commoners who lost everything. She tells about the struggles, the effects of radiation, evacuation, deaths and a lot more than you can bear. The scene of her searching for her husband after pushing and fighting her way into the local hospital and then there was this man crying and shouting to her to take her baby daughter away from everything repeatedly. That was really painful to watch.
A gem to the story telling
The way the series depicted the political situation of the Soviet Union was just amazingly brilliant. The administrative denying the fact of a Nuclear disaster, denying an immediate evacuation and the tension and constant desperate need to prove themselves better than the ‘West’ at any cost was astonishing.
How Plant manager Viktor Bryukhanov and chief engineer Nikolai Fomin refused to acknowledge the fact that an accident has occurred if not a possible catastrophe.
Ulana Khomyuk was another work of art, though it was a fictional character was still it was crucially important to the series. Her character was a sum total of all the other scientists who stood there voluntarily and stood against the Union supporting Legasov. Her fearless attitude and the brave attempts to reveal the truth outta the chaos was masterclass.
Also a great round of applause to supervising sound editor Stefan Henrix and sound designer Joe Beal without whom the series would have been really dull. The sound effects and background score is kinda the key to its heavy success to narrate flawlessly. Such that the episode tops the list and the series itself surpassed others like GOT.
Last episode of Chernobyl
The first episode Legasov asked, “What was the cost of lies”
The last and the first episode was connected to each other. The climax was beautifully concluded with each episode, each scene, each line and each sacrifice falls right into place. The ending was very sad but still, it was a beautiful ending.
Salute to the brave hearts
Let’s just take a moment and appreciate all those who sacrificed their lives willingly for a greater good. Though they said, “WE SERVE THE SOVIET UNION” but actually they served for the whole mankind.
Those miners, the suicide squad of three, cleaners, odd workers, scientists, party men, soldiers and each one of them.
‘For all who suffered and sacrificed’
The last 15 minutes of Chernobly shows us the stats and facts. Pictures and videos of real-life people, the aftermath of the disaster. While the Soviet Union officially stated 33 death toll but actually it’s more than 30,000 or even more if counted the linked ones.
The region is still inhabitable
Engineers work all day and night to secure the place till date.
It paced the fall of the Soviet Union.
We are dealing with something that has never occurred on this planet before.