REVIEW: Chernobyl - A scrupulously detailed, horrifying depiction of hidden truth and cost of lies.

HBO’s latest miniseries Chernobyl depicts the hidden truth behind the V.I Lenin Nuclear Power Station’s nuclear disaster in a brutally honest way and is relentlessly bleak .

Starting with the suicide of the nuclear physicist Valery Legasov (Jared Harris), the show then straight comes to the night when the RBMK reactor of V.I Lenin Nuclear Power Station in Chernobyl exploded. Firemen were getting sick while extinguishing the fire but they never knew something greater was burning them, something much harmful than a burn from fire. Lab scientists were trying to find a way out but their wishes were crushed by a dictator-like-supervisor Anton Dylatov (Paul Ritter), who took crazy decisions and was only concerned about initiating the safety test for the nuclear reactor. After many radiation tests, Comrade Scherbina (Stellan Skarsgard ) agrees that the situation is far worse than it appears to be. They somehow with the bravery of men who didn’t think about giving their life for saving the life of the whole world contained the radiation within an area but the radiation is so strong that it is still felt in areas far off from Pripyat ( The exclusion zone where the explosion happened). But who is to be blamed? Was the crazy decisions of a lab supervisor was the only reason or it was something else? Well, Chernobyl answers every doubt you ever had about the nuclear explosion and explains it in the most creative way possible without even caring about how horrifying it looked and that is what makes this show, the best miniseries till now.

Plenty of documentaries are already there about the nuclear explosion in Chernobyl, there are movies like Chernobyl Diaries, Chernobyl, Chernobyl 2 - The Exclusion Zone, Chernobyl: The Final Warning(short film), Chernobyl 30 years on The Nuclear Heritage (short film). All these movies are mainly concerned about depicting what is the condition of Chernobyl or what happens if we take a ride to Chernobyl now, but none except a handful of documentaries have shown what actually happened that day and what are the actual reasons and who is actually to be blamed. The show cleverly tells how the Soviet Union was also one of the reasons behind the nuclear explosion. What makes this show holistically remarkable is the way it showed horrifying, emotional conditions of not just humans but animals too, half of an episode is invested in showing the dreadful condition of animals followed by the emotional state of a person who is forced to become a soldier or the one who is willing to sacrifice his/her life for saving the life of others. The vividly realistic depiction and one of the best cinematography techniques with perfectly focused shots acts as a rich asset for the show.

The end dialogue “ The truth doesn’t care about our needs or wants, our ideologies, our religions. It will lie in wait the whole time, where I once the fear of truth, now I only ask, what is the cost of lies ?”, stays in your mind for a while and tells the show is scripted pretty neatly. Jared Harris as Legasov can now simply be called “The Underrated King of Miniseries” after doing an exceptionally brilliant role in AMC’s The Terror and Netflix’s The Crown. Stellan Skarsgard as Scherbina such variance of traits and has never really disappointed in playing his role, The River is an example of it. Emily Watson’s who played the character of Ulana Khomyuk did the job of representing everyone, a normal human who is just trying the best to serve the country without caring about any politics or statecraft. Craig Maizen (The man behind Hangover Part II) wrote and Johan Renck ( The man behind one of the craziest and weird movie ever made Downloading Nancy) directed all the episodes thus it helps the viewers to get acculturated to their setting of the plot.

Overall, the only flaw I can find in the show is that it is divided into five parts instead of eight.


Acting - 5 / 5.

Direction - 4.5 / 5.

Script - 5 / 5.

Cinematography - 5 / 5.

Background score - 4 / 5.


A Must Watch. Just go for it.