HBO released their popular and critically acclaimed limited series about the Chernobyl disaster. So you’d think no one would try to make another one. After all, the 2019 series named Chernobyl explained everything you really need to know about the events leading up to and after the explosion while keeping fairly historically accurate. Unfortunately, someone tried turning the event into a love story and failed to keep it, or the terrible disaster, interesting.
Chernobyl 1986 tells the fictional story of Alexey (Vikings’ Danila Kozlovskiy), a firefighter caught up in the events of the disaster and forced to become one of the liquidators who attempt to save all of Europe from the nuclear fallout. We first meet Alexey when he reunites with a former girlfriend and discovers he has a child. He wants to make right his sins of the past but before he can, the Chernobyl reactor explodes. And he’s forced to risk his life to save the lives of the people living in his part of the world.
First off, this movie feels like it wants to be the 2001 film Pearl Harbor, which isn’t a good movie to emulate. For the first 30 minutes or so you are brought into Alexey’s life. He has a desire to get back together with his old girlfriend. He also wants to be the father to the child he never knew he had. In some cases this storyline may have worked, but Alexey really isn’t the most likeable of characters. You get a sense he didn’t treat his girlfriend very well in the past. And the film even shows him slipping into old habits after reuniting with her. He skips a planned family day out and meeting up after having a few too many to drink. The film shifts into action movie gear shortly after that, which of course helps straighten Alexey out.
Chernobyl 1986 does have some things going for it. The action sequences are gritty and realistic, and keep you captivated. Seeing the horrible way radiation effects the human body was hard to watch yet powerful at the same time. The set created for the film look great, and the cinematography makes you feel like you were there during the disaster. It’s just unfortunate that the poor script glosses over the real events. The terrible pacing and the decision to include a love story also bring it down.
If you are looking to learn more about the disaster, watch the HBO series Chernobyl. It will tell you everything you need to know. Chernobyl 1986 has too many faults to recommend, including an over two-hour run time, and will just end up being an afterthought.
- Rated: NR
- Genre: Drama, History, Romance
- Release Date: 9/24/2021
- Directed by: Danila Kozlovskiy
- Starring: Danila Kozlovskiy, Oksana Akinshina
- Produced by: Alexander Rodnyansky, Danila Kozlovskiy, Sergey Melkumov, Vadim Vereshchagin
- Written by: Aleksey Kazakov, Elena Ivanova
- Studio: Central Partnership Productions, Group of Companies Gpm Kit, Non-Stop Productions