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Parents' Guide to

Fukushima 50

By Tom Cassidy, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 13+

Japanese disaster movie is true, inspiring, and very tense.

Movie NR 2020 122 minutes
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Is It Any Good?

Our review:
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A solid disaster movie that is made all the more enthralling and interesting due to it being a true story. By no means the whole picture, Fukushima 50 manages in two hours to successfully balance the necessity of getting across some heavy science and technical details with edge-of-your-seat disaster movie action and characters you quickly care about. The vast, world-changing stakes are always present and sit well alongside the quiet character moments that project the human side of these extraordinary events. The standouts are Ken Watanabe's plant chief in the control room and Koichi Sato leading his team of engineers on "suicide squad" missions to cool the reactors. But everyone turns out solid performances throughout.

With nuclear disaster being thankfully rare, there's an otherworldly terror to this movie. When a small team is in a pitch black corridor with just a torch, the Geiger counter is like the motion tracker in Aliens, with the threat just as uncaring and lethal. Other times, with characters pushing their rattly failed technology to the limits to avoid certain death, the drama recalls the likes of First Man and Apollo 13. Impossible to watch without wanting to know more, Fukushima 50 is a great starting point for understanding what happened in Japan in 2011 -- the effects that are still felt today -- and reopening discussion about nuclear power.

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