I need to learn to write reviews sooner, like, right after I see them, and not a week after the fact.

Anyway, brief synopsis of Countdown. It’s primarily a documentary about the history of the nuclear bomb, from inception to modern day, where currently 23,000 bombs are thought to exist in some form. The movie, for the first three quarters at least, presents itself based on a speech President Kennedy gave to the United Nations back in the early 1960s about the proliferation of the weapons and the danger posed by various groups of people or instances: mad men, rogue nations, accidental push of the buttons, etc.

The documentary succeeds in scaring the audience quite effectively: most noteworthy is the fact that a developed cylinder of plutonium or uranium can be shipped in a package of cat litter, on a freighter, without detection. Unfortunately, there’s little in the way of any human reaction or interaction: interviews are conducted on the street with regular people (who basically just respond to the questions asked them), an imprisoned man who was convicted of selling stolen uranium offers his own views, and various unrecognizable people give a voice over explaining the consequences of a detonation in a modern society (the consequences of which could cause the complete collapse of a major industrialized society). Everyone that offers facts is either a scientist or a government agent (a politician, for example). The solutions at the end flash by far too quickly too; there is brief moment showing the recent disarmament signing between Obama and Medvedev, but different ideas and solutions are practically spewed out without pause.

In the end, it’s well made, effective, and downright scary at times, but lacking a human voice to it. Your standard documentary, but still an important one.

B-

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