Chernobyl, the HBO miniseries which is the talk of the town these days among the movie and TV series enthusiasts is definitely worth the hype. Chernobyl is based on the unfortunate event that took place back in 1986 in Ukraine, then the Soviet Union where a nuclear reactor exploded while running a test and a nuclear catastrophe emerged all over the Soviet Union. The miniseries focuses principally on the events based on the reality that occur in the aftermath and solutions of not so easy problem.
The series starts off with a monologue of,
‘What is the cost of lies?’
‘It’s not that we’ll mistake them for the truth; the real danger is that if we hear enough lies, then we no longer recognize the truth’.
The show moves on and depicts a huge blast and the panic it creates within the nuclear plant and among the citizens of Kiev. The deputy chief engineer Comrade Anatoly Dyatlov (Paul Ritter) who was supervising the test tries to deny any accident and keeps instructing his subordinates to operate which further worsens the already screwed up situation. In the morning the government officials try to cover up the situation adopting the all-is-well-and-taken-care-of policy but in a high level meeting deputy director of the Kurchatov Institute of Atomic Energy, Valery Legasov (Jared Harris) lets the cat out of the bag explaining the destruction the radiation can cause which leaves the entire meeting room shell shocked and emphasizes on the point that the truth must be unveiled. The show then moves on with all the hurdles, efforts, sacrifices and measures a handful of people construct to save the lives of people not only of their country but the entire continent.
The cast had done a fabulous job in the show. Jared Harris, who plays the lead as Valery Legasov is the focal point of the series and his acting skills are just groundbreaking. He doesn’t let the character get into him but wears it in such a manner that his own self becomes invisible. His character is well written which demands him to be angry, frustrated, disappointed but still has to keep his nerves calm. He hardly smiles in the show which renders who deeply the character felt about this event.
Emily Watson plays Ulana Khomyuk, a nuclear physicist was a fictional character developed by the directors. Her character is a metalloid of the number of scientists and physicist who joined hands with Valery to get out of the hapless situation the Soviet Union was in. While Valery Legasov was keen to save millions of people, Khomyuk was determined to find out the root cause of why the incident happened in the first place. Emily did a great job in fulfilling the character because unlike other actors she didn’t have the blueprint of the character she has to portray. But with her brilliance and excellent creativity, she becomes a vital character of the show and you just can’t stop admiring her.
Legasov and Khomyuk were asked to work under the deputy Prime Minister Borys Shcherbina played by Stellan Skarsgård is another pivotal character who leads the solution on the management front. He is one of those characters who keep on changing as the story unfolds. Stellan Skarsgård pulls off this character fabulously leaving the viewers in awe with his dialogue delivery, his expressions, and acting skills.
DIRECTION AND WRITING:
The show is set in the era of the late 1980s and the cinematography is top-notch. Costumes and make up are the obvious winning points but the characterization and the set make you feel as you are in that era and the directors have done a credible job.
The show’s winner is definitely the script which makes you understand the difficulties and hardships they faced and depicts a very clear picture of the Soviet Union government at that time. The attention to detail by the writer is highly commendable who doesn’t leave you unfulfilled at any point in time. The dialogues are very strong and give you a reality check on more than one occasion which keeps you hooked to the show.
Chernobyl is pacy, informative, engaging and keeps you on the edge of your seats through its 5 episodes. It’s a brilliant piece of art and history which cannot be missed at any cost. It’s highly recommended.
Author: S.M Ali