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Review: Countdown to Zero

Bomb doc doesn't offer much hope
By GERALD PEARY  |  July 28, 2010
2.0 2.0 Stars


A great message, a not-so-great movie. More a visual editorial than a traditional documentary, Countdown to Zero lectures us in a hundred ways, many of them tiresomely repetitive, that our sweet world is on the cusp of destruction because of nuclear weaponry everywhere.

Filmmaker Lucy Walker scares us mightily with various scenarios, all of which end up with the bulk of us dead. Unwieldy countries, and holocaust-minded terrorists, can steal bombs, buy bombs, or build them, as long as they have a proper supply of enriched plutonium or uranium. Can such a bomb, the size of a football, be smuggled into the USA? You bet! And transported across our country to its murderous destiny? One scientist suggests using a truck and burying the bomb in kitty litter.

Grim and deeply fatalistic, Countdown to Zero switches unconvincingly at the end to hopeful pacifist scenes in which earnest individuals in the street call for the end of all nuclear bombs. Tell that to Pakistan, North Korea, or Iran, the new nuclear kid on the block.

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