– Chernobyl 1986 review is spoiler-free –
Chernobyl 1986 is a 2021 Russian film about the infamous Chernobyl Nuclear disaster that occured towards the latter half of the Cold War. The film draws from real events, however, the story in itself is fictional in nature.
The film is directed by Danila Kozlovsky who also stars in it as the lead. It also features Oksana Akinshina as Olga, Nikolai Kozak as Boris, and Ravshana Kurkova as Dina. It has a total run time of 2 hours and 16 minutes.
Netflix describes it as:
After reuniting with a lost love, firefighter Alexey retires to begin a new life — but the Chernobyl disaster suddenly plunges him back into danger.Via Netflix
If I were to describe Chernobyl 1986 in one word, I would say this: Boring. The film manages to take an interesting setting and an equally interesting premise and turn it into something entirely absurd.
The film starts with Alexey and Olga, two estranged lovers, meeting in a chance encounter. They spend some time together and recount days from their past. Alexey is now a firefighter and Olga is a hairdresser working at a salon.
When the Chernobyl disaster strikes, both of them are wildly unprepared to handle the aftermath. Which is quite obvious, given the seriousness of the situation and the implications of radioactive air. And yet, we see only a select few in panic, scrambling to get onto trains and buses.
The movie is confusing, to say the very least. It starts off as a love story that is entirely problematic on its own. The male lead refuses to understand consent, forcing the female lead to go out with him. And I do use the word female “lead” quite sparingly, for in a total run time of more than 2 hours, we see Olga for a measly 30 minutes. While I do want this review to remain spoiler-free, I will say this: Films like this shouldn’t be made in 2021.
During the latter half, the film turns into an action-adventure film of sorts. The reactor has erupted and it is up to the fire department to save everyone’s life. Here is where I finally expected the movie to pick up, but Spoiler Alert: It didn’t. The rest of the movie just glorifies the lead Alexey and heroism.
Funnily enough, the movie felt like a trashy Bollywood movie at best. Although this comparison may seem harsh to anyone who hasn’t seen the movie, it almost seemed like the 2019 Bollywood movie War. Just a mess of an excuse to glorify male god complexes.
Final Verdict: Chernobyl 1986
It truly is sad, because the movie had the potential to be so much more, even if it was the same storyline. The things that condemned it to me, however, were far too serious to ignore, and not much can be said about a movie that seems like mansplaining personified. The female lead was great on screen, and we would have loved to see more of her on-screen.
If I made a list of the things that I really liked about this movie, it would have just one thing on it: The cinematography. While the plot does an excellent job of trying to kill you with boredom, the cinematography is ethereal. Really, it was the only way I could get through this movie.
I wouldn’t watch it if I were you.
Chernobyl 1986 is streaming on Netflix.