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The China Syndrome (1979)

Director:
James Bridges
COUNTRY
USA
GENRE
Drama
NORWEGIAN TITLE
Kinasyndromet
RUNNING TIME
123 minutes
Produced:
Michael Douglas
Screenwriter:
Mike Gray
T. S. Cook
James Bridges


Cast includes:

CHARACTER ACTOR/ACTRESS RATING
Kimberly Wells Jane Fonda
Jack Godell Jack Lemmon
Richard Adams Michael Douglas
Herman De Young Scott Brady
Bill Gibson James Hampton
Don Jacovich Peter Donat
Ted Spindler Wilford Brimley

 

Review

Absorbing, relevant and pounding drama about the hazards of cold war era nuclear plants. Released seven years prior to the Chernobyl disaster, The China Syndrome demands attention to be drawn to the dangers of not only nuclear power, but allegorically to the long-standing cover-up policy of American politics - a way of thinking that has never focused on the backside of the medal. Filmmaker James Bridges is blatantly liberal and radical, but to harrowing effect. Shooting the film completely without a musical score enhances the alarming effect - both as a thriller and as a drama. It's quiet before the storm all the way through. And a stoutly convinced Jack Lemmon propels our conscience forward with him, opening our eyes gradually as we move on.

On a secondary level, the film is a critical account of the impact of television, and the conflicting but all the same interdependent interests of the two fields is never hidden. This is substantive filmmaking that doesn't care for superficialities - both Bridges and Douglas show a cerebral side to their filmmaking that they argueably never equalled. And Douglas, along with a convincing Wilford Brimley, make up a fine supporting cast.

Re-reviewed: Copyright 22.3.2007 Fredrik Gunerius Fevang
Original review: Copyright 19
.2.1997 Fredrik Gunerius Fevang
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