American marathon runner Michael Andropolis sets his heart on representing his country at the Olympic games. Meanwhile his marriage has fallen apart and his children have no respect for him... See full summary »
Steven Hilliard Stern
A successful but stressed mathematics professor (Clayburgh) goes to her father's wedding and falls in love with her father's bride's son (Douglas), a prematurely retired pro baseball player... See full summary »
While doing a series of reports on alternative energy sources, an opportunistic reporter Kimberly Wells witnesses an accident at a nuclear power plant. Wells is determined to publicise the incident but soon finds herself entangled in a sinister conspiracy to keep the full impact of the incident a secret. Written by
Dave Jenkins <email@example.com>
The movie's title is based on the theoretical but implausible notion that if a nuclear meltdown were to occur in the United States, the nuclear core would melt all the way through the Earth's core and emerge on the other side of the world. However, China is simply a metaphor for the other side of the world. If such an event could occur it would emerge in the Indian Ocean. See more »
Throughout the film, Michael Douglas makes the mistake of pronouncing the word "nuclear" as the incorrect "noo-kyoo-ler". (A mistake he also makes in The Game). See more »
This is *not* a great film about nuclear power. It plays too fast and loose with reality for that--especially in a cringe-inducing scene where two scientists describe the consequences of a reactor accident. The catastrophic damage they describe is (even opponents of nuclear power would agree) a worst-case scenario, not the inevitable result of a breakdown in the reactor cooling system. Three-Mile Island suffered such a breakdown, and the surrounding "area the size of Pennsylvania" remained habitable.
That said, this *is* a great (and surprisingly subtle) film about complex technological systems, how they fail, and how the organizations that manage them go awry. Subtle? Well: 1) Jack Godell, the whiste-blowing hero, is a flawed and self-doubting normal human being rather than a crusader in shining armor; 2) His co-workers at the plant (as opposed to the "suits" they work for) are sympathetic working-class guys who gripe (as does everybody now and then) about burdensome government regulations and the clueless public; 3) The flaws in the plant are subtle, not glaring. The film, in other words, plays a lot fairer than you'd expect given its reputation (and pedigree).
Does this film have a definite whiff of late-70s, post-Watergate America about it? Sure. Does it have a political edge? Yes. For all that, though, it's still (sadly) relevant--our technology, and the people who are supposed to make it work, still fail us. See the movie, then skim the recent (August 2003) report on the Columbia disaster; the more things change. . .
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