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Countdown to Zero is a reminder that just because the Cold War is over does not mean the danger passed
on June 12, 2010
From the people who brought you "An Inconvenient Truth" comes "Countdown to Zero," written and directed by Lucy Walker and produced by Lawrence Bender. After the Cold War, nuclear arms were scaled back and the public naively felt the danger had passed. Although only nine nations developed and continue to possess nuclear weapons, forty others have the knowledge to do it and it is only a matter of time before human error or terrorist pursuits could make a huge lasting impact on this planet.
"Countdown to Zero" does a fantastic job of setting up the situation first with the history of the bomb, the Manhatten project, and the horrors they caused. It reveals many shocking instances where due to human or machine error, we or other countries were mere minutes or even seconds away from firing the first missile. With all these nuclear weapons set to a hair trigger that can be fired within one minute of receiving the order, we live in a dangerous reality indeed.
The film also explores the ways to obtain highly refined uranium and how surprisingly easy it is if you know the right people. We assume that even with the materials, it would still be difficult to construct a usable bomb but that also proves false. A large team might be needed but bomb construction can be as easy as pie and the beauty of it is that it does not need to be perfect, it just needs to go boom! and the end result will be the same. It is far too easy to smuggle the uranium into the United States should anyone want to and even the best detection equipment makes mistakes. So basically there are three ways to get bombs: make them, steal them, or buy them and it is almost impossible to keep up with preventing all these ways so it would be much easier to eliminate them altogether.
The impact different types of bombs could have and how far the fall out would spread would be devastating anywhere at any time. The goal of the film is to remind the public that this threat still exists and with a large enough outcry from the people, more progress could be made to eliminate ALL nuclear weapons everywhere.
This documentary is informative and engrossing and I would highly recommend checking it out. It is easy with all the other problems out there to forget about nuclear weapons being an issue since it seems so Cold War era, but it still is an issue that needs to be resolved and this movie serves as a great reminder. It opens in theaters July 23, 2010.