Chernobyl (2019) – The Worst Man-Made Catastrophe

“Chernobyl” is a new mini-series by HBO and Sky Studio that began airing on May 6 to June 3, 2019. It’s a story of the worst man-made catastrophe drama. This series dramatizes a memorable historical event. More than anything, this nuclear disaster caused by carelessness and human selfishness. The drama consists of five episodes every one-hour duration. A genius show that changed the paradigm of one of the largest catastrophes in history. Taking the right picture, the accuracy of the incident, to describe the world as it was a reality.

Directed by Johan Renck, this series was also written by Craig Mazin. Sure, he wrote much wacky comedy series such as “The Hangover” and “Scary Movie”. But, when he was serious, you got this mini-series. It’s like a slap to critics who always insult his films. With five episodes, this series grabbed a lot of attention. On IMDb, the series achieved a rating of 9.6 with 250,000 more users. At the same time, the Top Rated TV Shows ranked this show in number one. It’s passing “Planet Earth II”, “Game of Thrones”, and “Breaking Bad“. Not only that, Mazin make us curious about this series.

It’s not one of the hardest shows you want to watch it in a marathon. Like “Breaking Bad”, the hype is more popular again thanks to “Game of Thrones”. But, I thought that they didn’t enjoy the series as well. But, you can watch Chernobyl in a marathon. Not your kind of horror series but it’s one of the most terrifying and horrifying series. You got a lot of information and terms when you didn’t know what it was. You got such as Chernobyl, EMBK reactor, who was Valery Legasov, or what Pripyat was. In fact, all the crew and the creators of the series investigate these materials. They explored such the location. They invited the Nuclear Energy Institute, immediately, to make Chernobyl records.

The Chernobyl tragedy was the biggest nuclear tragedy occurred in 1986. This disaster occurred at the Chernobyl nuclear facility. The explosion reached level seven. It involved seven tons of nuclear into the atmosphere. The comparison exceeds two tons of Hiroshima’s and Nagasaki’s into the atmosphere. America created this series or in a different context, Russian propaganda. They are bringing up the story of invisible radiation. Russia is angry because of this. Thinks it wants to make a series like this after opening a closed wounded country.

“Chernobyl” uses a less casual casting we actually don’t think too much. This series explores what actually happened besides Chernobyl disaster. It brings them with fear but each episode always shows a flawless chapter from each part. Can HBO also make other series of true events? Actually, I want more than this series. This series starts with Jared Harris as Valery Legasov spoke through a tape recording before he commits suicide. Directly after that, the plot begins to move backward until before the Chernobyl explosion occurs. The room in Reactor 4 just exploded and this is just the first episode. We see these workers in it panicking but trying to stay calm. More surprising, they don’t believe the core has just exploded. They cannot accept this fact until they have to witness it directly from lying.

The entire series focuses on these characters who lie and they try to hide the facts. Because of this selfishness, and propaganda too, the situation is getting narrower. Workers in Reactor 4 are trying to notify firefighters to come as soon as possible. And they don’t know what exactly was burning or what just really happened. Graphite is scattered on the ground and a firefighter takes it without knowing what it that. After the incident, politicians coupled a lie by keeping the population in the Chernobyl. However, it was getting worse and worse when the scale peaked on the top just because of a spark.

Besides Valery Legasov as the atomic energy expert, stood a person next to him. He is a Soviet Central Committee member, Stellan Skarsgård as Boris Scherbina. They both tried to investigate the incident and immediately contacted the local party and, of course, Moscow. Behind Legasov as well, Emily Watson as Ulana Khomyuk helped to find out what caused this incident. Starting from interviewing some workers due to radiation and the firefighters. From this peak, they really knew how this event would soon at peak. It will get worse and worse again.

These trio, Harris, Skarsgård, and Watson, are just so phenomenal and sensational. Just amazing how accurately they portray a real-life character of true events. In no small part, this series fulfills their performance with such a great yet brilliance performance. Jarred Harris acts like a genius doctor filled with various pressures. Harris gave us a great performance even from his entire career. At first, we see Harris’ Legasov who committed suicide without knowing why. At least if you know some basic history, now we come across from his development. He turns into one of the smart nuclear power experts but at the end of the day, he was a “hero”. In the end, his country had to isolate himself to keep his eye closed on this incident. I’m still waiting at Emmy and Golden Globe.

We know Skarsgård from his role in “Good Will Hunting” and “Nymphomaniac” series. He is more known by the mainstream after his role in “Thor”. In this film, he was just so marvelous. Skarsgård’s Scherbina at first served as a career politician who tried to keep his distance from Legasov. He is more than anything in this world. Knowing the cruelty of this incident, he didn’t know what’s going happen in the future. He learned more about how he had to deal with this situation with Legasov. The dynamic between Harris and Skarsgård dominates the whole series. Their inter-collaboration, conflict, and comedy moments, for some, are great. We start to root for them, for deeply. It makes them one of the best duo in this universe. Especially if this is a series of true events.

Emily Watson is one of the supporting characters, also one of the important characters besides Harris’ Legasov and Skarsgård’s Boris. But, Watson shines through this series from the first time he appeared until the end. The series has many various plots. We see this series from all kinds of perspectives such as Jessie Buckley’s Lyudmilla Ignatenko as a female citizen. The consistency plot of Ignatenko had to face the harsh reality after seeing her husband exposed to radiation. Watson’s Khomyuk is the only fictional character from the main cast. She helped Legasov and Boris in following this disaster. The story has many straight parallels, except the series is told in backward, alternately. Often, the series illustrates the horrors of this aftermath or you might get the moments of “what the hell?” in this series.

This series has beautiful photography and cinematography like they capture the sublimity of this disaster. Strikingly cinematic, the series has many accurate shots between real footage and the series. The music contains this environment as if it were in an event and its universe too. Hildur Guðnadóttir’s score is so terrifying. She records a real sound made directly from the nuclear plant. The music is just beautiful, completely natural yet organic to this horror of disaster.

“Chernobyl” is a miniseries about one of the worst events in history but explores in terms of humanity with such a big scale of the disaster. It’s not a proud or memoir of events as well as Communism itself. Moreover, this is not about an anti-nuclear campaign. The series focuses a lot on these humans in response to this Chernobyl event. They close and bury their history deeply without thinking of their own situation or other human beings. The series stands out as a series in general but more terrifying if you watch closely. This show is everything in us and HBO’s happiness to all mankind after the fall of the “Game of Thrones” season finale.

5 out of 5 stars.

Salman Al Farisi

An Indonesian who loves to watch and read everything. A literary student who likes to write about reviews and essays on Crackdown Review. But, I just wannabe critics who love arthouse than anything.

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