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Home · Articles · Movies · Documentary · Into Eternity
Documentary
 

Into Eternity


Timely, visually crisp documentary

Rod Lott May 18th, 2011

To paraphrase Peter Graves’ pedophile pilot in “Airplane!,” “Joey, do you like movies about nuclear waste facilities?”

If so, the Oklahoma City Museum of Art is running one, “Into Eternity,” Friday through Sunday. And talk about timely; one of its tenets is that the world above ground is too unstable to store nuclear waste, as the recent earthquake — and resulting plant disaster — in Japan proved.

As one of the scientists interviewed in this documentary says, “You can’t make nuclear waste go away. You can’t make nuclear waste harmless.” So the best we can do is seal it up until it no longer is hazardous: 100,000 years.

Director Michael Madsen (not the actor, although he’d do it for a six-pack of PBR), looks at the underground tunnels of Onkalo, a Finnish facility being designed to last at least that long, and won’t even be completed until the 22nd century. His camera snakes and swirls slowly around Onkalo’s insides, with Kubrickian awe and resolve.

Equally purposeful are the film’s crisp graphics, from its title cards to a computer map of the facility, whose twisting tunnels digging deep resemble the Umbrella Corporation in the “Resident Evil” franchise. One sequence eerily depicts the radioactive cloud that grew over Chernobyl after that city’s 1986 nuclear accident.

There’s no real narrative drive to the film, however, although Madsen tries to shoehorn one in. It’s his face that greets the viewer in the opening moments, and his Dieter-esque voice we hear throughout as he tosses about philosophical questions, often ending with the rhetorical but pretentious, “How is it with you?”

Visually, quite fine, thanks for asking.
 
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