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Is Netflix's Interceptor Based On A True Story?

Harry Smailes

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Is Netflix's Interceptor Based On A True Story?

Interceptor is an action-packed, high-octane film which revolves around the titular interception of a nuclear warhead and viewers are wondering whether the events of the film are grounded in fact.

A Netflix original released on the streaming service on May 26th, Interceptor quickly shot to the top of the streaming charts - despite a flurry of overwhelmingly negative reviews - although it was quickly overtaken by Adam Sandler’s smash-hit Hustle. The film stars Elsa Pataky as a US military captain who, following incidents of bullying and sexual assualt, is moved to a remote outpost in the Pacific which contains nuclear missile interceptors. Without revealing too much of the plot, these nuclear interceptors are then used to attempt to stop nuclear warheads.

The film currently has a rating of 4.4 on IMDb and 43% on Rotten Tomatoes, two very good indicators of the reception of the movie. As perviously mentioned however, the film miraculously struck the top spot on Netflix, though it was short-lived. As Independent reported, even director Matthew Reilly is “just as confused as everyone else” by the film’s success considering its poor reviews, including many labelling it Netflix’s worst film to date. 

Even though the film is a rather run-of-the-mill action blockbuster which features Michael Bay-esque sequences, audiences are still wondering whether or not its events actually occurred.


Is Netflix's Interceptor Based On A True Story?

In short, no. The plot of Interceptor is entirely fictional, none of the characters existed in reality and neither did its events. However, the principles behind the movie are not utter science-fiction.

As far-fetched as intercepting a nuclear missile might seem, technology exists that could theoretically intercept a nuclear warhead mid-flight. The film drastically oversimplifies the halting of a missile, only requiring the push of a button; in actuality, the detonation would require perfectly accurate calculations and whole facilities just to perform the exercise. According to Salon, there is currently a system in place that could defend the US from Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles (ICBMs) but it “probably doesn’t work”. Another dead giveaway that the film is not factual is that, with the exception of the US twice in 1945, no country has ever fired a nuclear missile at another.

Essentially, the ideas behind the nuclear interceptors in Interceptor are somewhat plausible, but their depiction exhibits some major disparities from reality.

Featured Image Credit: Netflix

Topics: TV and Film, Netflix

Harry Smailes
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