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Russian disaster film Chernobyl 1986 follows firefighter Alexey Karpushin (Danila Kozlovsky, who also serves as director) as he heroically steps in to help with the tragedy at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant near Pripyat, in the north of the Ukrainian SSR in the Soviet Union.
A synopsis from Netflix says: "After reuniting with a lost love, firefighter Alexey retires to begin a new life - but the Chernobyl disaster suddenly plunges him back to danger."
The movie is listed as 'emotional', so don't expect an easy ride - although anyone who watched the harrowing HBO series will know that.
The outlet reports that some national film critics have slammed the movie for 'focusing on a main character saving the day rather than depicting the true horror of the tragedy'.
However, there are many positives among other reviews, with NME's Mark Beaumont pointing out: "Before we point to Chernobyl 1986 and cry semi-fictional foul, let's recall the countless times we've been stirred to cinematic pride at our own nation's intrinsic tenets of bravery and selfless sacrifice, or swallowed far thicker cheese in American disaster flicks, and let Russia have its Titanic moment."
RBC's Egor Moksvitin argues that every filmmaker bears the right to interpret events in his or her own way, and also praises the work of 26-year-old cinematographer Ksenia Serda.
"A long and predictable exposition is suddenly crowned with the first action scene: The hero rushes toward the fire, dead birds fall from the sky, the green forest turns red and the people turn grey," Moskvitin says.
"This scene shakes the viewer up and illustrates why camerawoman Ksenia Sereda will soon begin filming a blockbuster series for HBO."
Abirbhab Maitra from ReadySteadyCut admits that the film 'has its own cliches of the genre' but says: "The part I love so deeply is the attachment of the human psyche to the movie's overall theme."
Maitra adds: "The standout thing in Chernobyl 1986 is its action sequences. The raw and realistic action sequences capture the utter madness of the disaster with the help of Kseniya Sereda's energetic camera movements, and with the complementary background score by Oleg Karpachev creating the atmosphere of the entire setting. I found parallels with the opening visuals of Steven Spielberg's Saving Private Ryan with some of the scenes of action and tension."
Watch Chernobyl 1986 on Netflix now.
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