The story of Karen Silkwood, a metallurgy worker at a plutonium processing plant who was purposefully contaminated, psychologically tortured and possibly murdered to prevent her from exposing blatant worker safety violations at the plant.
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Fairly accurate recounting of the story of Karen Silkwood, the Oklahoma nuclear-plant worker who blew the whistle on dangerous practices at the Kerr-McGee plant and who died under circumstances which are still under debate. Written by
Susan C. Mitchell <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Reportedly, the production of this film set a legal precedent in the U.S. Supreme Court regarding the protection of confidential sources for film-makers under the First Amendment, as is the case for media reporters [See: Stephen F. Rohde, 5 Pepp. L. Rev. 351 (1977-1978), "Real to Reel: The Hirsch Case and First Amendment Protection for Film-makers' Confidential Sources of Information"]. See more »
When men looking for radiation search the house, Karen and Dolly are questioned and Dolly is taken away. Soon afterward, in a close shot of Karen, Dolly is in the background. See more »
Apparently, when "Silkwood" came out, Mike Nichols hadn't released a notable movie since "The Fortune" nearly killed his career eight years earlier. If we call this his comeback, then it was sure a good comeback. Donning one of her many accents from over the years - in this case Oklahoman - Meryl Streep plays Karen Silkwood, a plutonium processing plant employee who sought to expose the dangerous conditions in her workplace...and mysteriously died in a car wreck.
This is the sort of opportunity to be idiotically preachy, but the movie never degenerates into that. It shows how the plant's owners poisoned her and psychologically berated her. This brings to mind the overall issue of how the nuclear age affected the whole planet. Nuclear tests by both the US and USSR left the whole world irradiated. Nuclear power may be discredited, but apparently NO PERSON ON EARTH has escaped nuclear fallout. So much for progress.
All in all, "Silkwood" is a really good movie. It's surprising to see Kurt Russell and Cher (as Karen's roommates Drew Stephens and Dolly Pelliker) in this sort of movie; we associate him with kick-ass roles and her with treacly roles. But they do a very good job. Also starring Craig T. Nelson, Diana Scarwid, Fred Ward, Ron Silver, and Bruce McGill.
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