Blu-ray/DVD/Digital: Chernobyl (2019)
There was no World Wide Web, social media involved passing fanzines around friends, and if you wanted to take video or photographs of something, then you sure as hell had better be prepared to carry around the correct equipment all the time…most of it quite large and heavy.
Despite being a little over 30 years ago, 1986 was a time where news spread across the globe at a far slower rate than today, and was also filtered through government and media bigwigs who deemed what was appropriate (or truthful) for those below them to consume.
I remember 1986 very well: I had my 21st birthday (the 1st of only 2 times in my life that I’ve ever worn a suit), I had an incredible holiday in Canada, and for a brief period, I thought that a large proportion of the worlds population was going to die from radiation poisoning.
UK news outlets, both on radio and television, were giving out inconsistent reports on “an explosion at a nuclear plant in Chernobyl“, and these reports soon escalated the seriousness of the event, with warnings of huge clouds of radioactive dust that was sweeping across Europe at the whim of the direction of the ever changing winds.
Scary times indeed.
Not as scary though as watching this riveting five part dramatisation of the event, where I’m sure (even though I was familiar with the timeline) my fingers gripped the couch so hard that I lost all feeling in them.
Chernobyl covers events before, during, and after the explosion, with a non-linear narrative that not only jumps around the timeline, but also introduces the viewer to various people who are all involved at different levels…from the brave souls who gave their lives to help with damage control after the explosion, to high ranking officials of the Soviet Union.
Everything about Chernobyl is superb, from the acting, the cinematography, the sound design, and the aforementioned “fingers in couch” narrative that elicits every imaginable emotion from you during each of its five mesmerising episodes.
Despite a nuclear power plant explosion being at its core (pun fully intended), Chernobyl is a story about humankind. Its tenacity to not only survive, but also to right wrongs and see justice done, no matter what the cost. How love, friendship and hope can overcome even the most dire of circumstances.
It also shows the flip side of humanity too, and how greed, power and narcissism can corrupt, to the point of being impervious to the grief and suffering of fellow humans.
I’ve always preferred movies to television series, as I like everything ‘done and dusted’ in just a couple of hours, not wanting to be tied to characters and story for months, and often years, at a time. However, Chernobyl had me completely gripped for all of its 5 and a half hour running time. In fact I could have sat transfixed by it for far longer too.
Whether you were alive or not when it happened, or even if you are aware or not of the events, Chernobyl is the perfect example of “must see TV“. Harrowing, heartbreaking, frightening, yet also inspiring and affecting, this is a series that should be in everyones collection.
Chernobyl is released:
- July 4th (Digital)
- July 15th (DVD)
- July 29th (Blu-ray)
Special features TBC.
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