Should You Spare Some DVR Storage For Independent Lens's Nuclear-Waste Docu Containment?

Or is the compelling bleakness you find in certain New Yorker articles too much?

Worthwhile Show Attempted

Independent Lens environmental documentary Containment


How do we contain nuclear waste -- and continue to contain it, and to mark where we've stashed it in the earth, so that future generations will know to avoid it? Containment is about the history of nuclear-waste disposal, and its future as well.

How Far I Expected To Get

Five minutes? Between the increasingly dire tone of climate-change documentaries over the last 10 years -- the dark shift from "if we don't get it together soon..." to "aaaaand now it's too late to reverse the changes, get to high ground if you can afford it" -- and the feeling approaching the inauguration (for this progressive, anyway) that it's all so much digging a hole and shouting into it as far as preventing the incoming administration from literally destroying us all in the next 10,000 minutes, never mind years? I know I should bear witness to these horrors but sometimes I just don't have the stomach.

When It Won Me Over

12:18 (of 90 minutes)

What Did It

It's hard to say exactly. Part of it was the talking-head interview with Gregory Jaczko, former head of the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, who would totally be played by Corey Stoll in the scripted version of this ("Wasted"?). Part of it was the sense of the project as the audiovisual equivalent of Elizabeth Kolbert's environmental-diary pieces in The New Yorker: long, flawlessly structured, elegantly written, profoundly pessimistic pieces on the state of the physical planet that I never, and yet always, regret reading.

Part of it is the vintage footage from the chilliest reaches of the Cold War in the last century.


The quaintness of the fonts lets the mind skip away for a few moments from the idea that management and regulation of this sector is not exactly fixing to improve in the coming years.

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Then footage of the Fukushima disaster focuses the attention again on the massive glowing knot of problems looming not just on the horizon, but across the street. Like those Kolbert articles, it's not an easy sit, but it's very well done.

Worth Taking A Run At It?

Absolutely. (But maybe second-screen a browser window to an environmental-protection non-profit in case you need to practice some self-care during the film.)

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