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Countdown to Zero (movie)

A 2010 documentary about the escalating nuclear arms race

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The Clock Is Ticking

  • Jul 31, 2010
Rating:
+4
COUNTDOWN TO ZERO
Directed by Lucy Walker

“Somebody’s going to make a mistake some day and we’re all going to suffer for it.”

There are currently nine countries in the world with nuclear capacity.  Each of them claims to operate and maintain their nuclear warheads with the utmost care and only intends to use them if one of the other countries uses theirs on them first.  By that logic, nuclear arms are solely for the purpose of protection even though the damage they cause is nothing short of catastrophic.  And who is responsible for the day-to-day supervision of these real life weapons of mass destruction?  Just ordinary folk like you or me, that’s who.  And if humanity has taught us anything about ourselves over the years, it is that inevitably, we will make a simple but fatal error.  Only this error will wipe out millions of people within minutes.

Director, Lucy Walker wants us to wake up and smell the radioactive coffee.  In COUNTDOWN TO ZERO, she makes a sincere plea to the audience to stop pretending like nothing bad will ever come from the world’s nuclear research and development.  She does so by simply reminding us of the magnitude of their destructive properties and then by showing us a number of examples where control over these weapons has been very easily lost.  These weapons cannot exist without humanity clearly.  Human beings invented them and developed the technology that has now given every country in the world the potential capacity to obtain them with the right amount of funding.  Human beings also watch over them and what with our insatiable greed and desire for power, not to mention our great tendency toward stupidity, it seems ridiculous that we all walk around feeling safe from the very real threat they pose.

COUNTDOWN TO ZERO should be mandatory viewing in every household and every schoolroom across the planet.  The threat of nuclear annihilation is very real but currently very easily ignored. Despite this, Walker is firm in her conviction and makes her points plainly but effectively.  The simplicity with which she presents the imminence of nuclear war only furthers her argument about how equally simple it is for it to all come apart.  Within the next fifteen minutes, 2000 nuclear bombs could launch and kill over 100, 000, 000 people in just half an hour.  You won’t even have the time to see this movie after having finished reading this review.

Thanks for reading.
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August 01, 2010
I have heard of this but I don't think it is playing in a theater near me (checks)...luckily, it is actually playing at a theater near work but it is a very small one. I'll keep this in mind, but I have intentions on seeing "The Kids are All Right" first...thanks for the review, Joseph!
August 01, 2010
The two films are not really comparable but you should be entertained or enlightened either way. Just depends if you're in the mood for narrative or fact, I guess.
 
July 31, 2010
Great review of this important subject. We have less nukes than in the past. Hopefully with nuclear proliferation treaties, we can get all countries to dismantle them, and use nuclear power for space exploration and energy. I should see this.
August 01, 2010
From the sounds of it, yes, you should see it. Very well presented doc. Fair.
 
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About the reviewer
Joseph Belanger ()
Ranked #23
Hello Lunchers. I am a thirty-something guy making his way in Toronto. I am a banker by day and a film critic the rest of the time. Sensitive, sharp and sarcastic are just a few words that start with … more
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Countdown to Zero is a documentary film released in 2010 which argues that the likelihood of the use of nuclear weapons has increased since the end of the Cold War due to terrorism, nuclear proliferation, theft of nuclear materials and weapons, and other factors.
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