Series Review: Chernobyl (2019)

Usually I make some kind of cute remarks in these intros that relate to the thing I’m reviewing. But in this case I just can’t. There’s nothing clever I can say. So I guess we should just get into the review itself.

Disclaimer: I know this thing is based on a true story, but I will not base my review on how perfectly accurate to the real situation it may or may not be, but I will instead judge it as a movie… which it is. Disclaimer over.

Ladies and gentlemen… “Chernobyl”.

The Chernobyl power plant, Ukraine, April 1986. It’s in the middle of the night. The people working the plant notice something going awry. The core has exploded. So we follow in the aftermath of that, showing how it affects the people either working the plant or trying to stop it from getting worse. We also get to see how scientist Valery Legasov (Jared Harris) tries to figure out ways to fix it, while dealing with all the red tape of the Soviet government. So now we have our historical drama. And man, this is a fucking masterclass in storytelling. Sure, it doesn’t give you any major twists or turns, but it instead takes the relatively straightforward events and tells them in a very nuanced, respectful, and anxiety-inducing way. There isn’t a scene in this show that didn’t have me on the edge of my seat. It may not technically be listed as horror, but it sure as hell felt like it at times.

The characters in this all feel layered, flawed, nuanced, realistic, and overall very interesting. Jared Harris plays Valery Legasov, the scientist put in charge of trying to fix the whole conundrum of the Chernobyl explosion. He’s one of those people who tries to make sense of everything, but also gets frustrated when people won’t listen to him. And it’s interesting to see him go through the various issues he has to deal with in the series. And Harris is fantastic in the role. We also get performances from people like Stellan Skarsgård, Emily Watson, Jessie Buckley, Barry Keoghan, Con O’Neill, Paul Ritter, David Dencik, and many more, all doing very well in their respective roles.

The score for “Chernobyl” was composed by Hildur Guðnadóttir, and it was fantastic. It’s dark, it’s eerie, it’s emotional, it’s anxiety-inducing… it’s exactly the kind of score that is befitting of the storytelling. So yeah, it fits quite well.

Based on the horrifying nuclear disaster in 1986, the show was created and written by Craig Mazin, with Johan Renck directing. And the craft behind this is stellar. The direction is always eerie, never letting up any of the suspense. It’s claustrophobic, but also intimate with its characters, really bringing you into their personal struggles. And the cinematography by Jakob Ihre is quite eerie too.

This show has been very well received. On Rotten Tomatoes it has a 94% positive rating and a “Fresh” certification. On Metacritic it has a score of 83/100. And on imdb.com it has a score of 9,7/10 and is ranked #1 on the “Top 250 TV” list.

“Chernobyl” isn’t a fun show… but it is quite fantastic. It has a great plot, really good characters, fantastic performances, great music, and great writing/directing/cinematography. Time for my final score. *Ahem*. My final score for “Chernobyl” is a 9,94/10. So it gets the “SEAL OF APPROVAL!”.

My review of “Chernobyl” is now completed.

You know what’s interesting? The guy who wrote this show also wrote the “Hangover” sequels and some of the later “Scary Movie” entries.

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Series Review: Peaky Blinders – Season 3 (2016)

As some of you might know, I reviewed season one and two a while back (*nudge nudge wink wink*). And if you have any memory of that happening, then you might remember that I pretty much loved those seasons. So I’m super excited to finally review the third season for you guys. So here we go!

Ladies and gents… “Peaky Blinders” season 3!

The year is 1924 and everything seems to be looking up for Thomas Shelby (Cillian Murphy). Business is going well and he’s finally getting married. However, he soon finds himself getting into the fray once again when he has to start dealing with Russians, Italians, and a priest (Paddy Considine) with powerful connections. And I thought the plot here this season was really good. And while not quite as tense and unpredictable as the previous seasons, it still retains most of the intrigue and dramatic heft that one can expect from the show at this point. The season does go to some really dark and slightly messed up places at times too which really helps keep the plot of “Peaky Blinders” well above most shows out there.

The characters have always been a highlight of the show, and this season is no exception. Cillian Murphy of course returns as Thomas Shelby, the head of the Shelby family/business, and he is still the damaged and layered man we’ve come to know. And Cillian Murphy is once again fantastic in the role. Helen McCrory returns as Aunt Polly, and she is still one of the best female characters out there. And McCrory is of course fantastic in the role. Paul Anderson returns as Arthur Shelby, the rough-around-the-edges brother of Thomas, this time getting some more development than in previous seasons. And Anderson is fantastic in the role. Joe Cole returns as John Shelby, Thomas’ younger brother, and he’s great in the role. Ned Dennehy, Ian Peck, Sophie Rundle, Annabelle Wallis, all return and they’re all great. Tom Hardy also makes a return as Alfie Solomons, and while he isn’t in this season a whole lot, he’s still one of the best parts of it. Now, let’s talk about the newcomer worth talking about: Paddy Considine. I’ve been a fan of him for a while now, and seeing him in here as a sneaky priest was interesting. His character is really interesting and Considine is great in the role. Really, the acting here is terrific.

Like in previous season, there is no real identifiable original score that we can properly talk about. But instead we once again get a soundtrack consisting mainly of rock songs from the past 20 – 25 years or so. There are also a couple newer songs too that are hard to pin a genre on, but still work really well in this show. That is something I want to mention: When imagining a gangster show set in 1920s Birmingham one woudln’t think a rock-based soundtrack would work, but it somehow does. Give the person responsible for picking the songs a fucking raise.

This show was created by Steven Knight, and all episodes this season were directed by Tim Mielants, who I think did a great job. His direction is very tight and helps create a tense and good mood that elevates the show quite a bit. It’s also a visually arresting show… just thought I’d mention that. Also, this show is bloody/violent and features nudity, so if you’re one of those wimps who can’t stomach that stuff in movies and TV, you have been warned.

This show has been very well received, but this season is fucking impossible to say with since it has no score on the sites I usually use. Sure, it exists on Rotten Tomatoes and Metacritic, but it has no score on there. And on imdb.com the show (no seasonal average) has a score of 8,8/10 and is ranked #66 on the “Top 250 TV” list.

“Peaky Blinders” season 3 is great… not much else I can say. It has a great plot, great characters, fantastic performances, great music, and great directing. Time for my final score. *Ahem*. My final score for “Peaky Blinders” season 3 is a 9,71/10. So yeah, it gets the “SEAL OF APPROVAL!”.

My review of “Peaky Blinders” season 3 is now completed.

Mumble mumble mumble mumble fuck mumble. That is how Tom Hardy sounds in this show and it’s so much fun.