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USA 1979
Directed by
James Bridges
123 minutes
Rated PG

Reviewed by
Bernard Hemingway
4 stars

The China Syndrome

James Bridges delivers a gripping social conscience drama centred around an incident at a nuclear power plant. Jane Fonda is a good-looking TV newsreader whose desire to be taken seriously as an investigative reporter leads her into the corrupt world of corporate self-interest, Michael Douglas is a leftie cameraman and Jack Lemmon a nervy whistle--blower.

Occasionally histrionic, the scene where the plant blows a fuse looks like it was an out-take from a Thunderbirds episode, and Fonda's platform-sole shoes and Michael Douglas's cap are something else again, but The China Syndrome is tightly-paced with strong performances from both Fonda and Lemmon in the central roles. Aside from its merits as a drama, it had the good fortune to open a week before the real-life partial core meltdown at Three Mile Island in Pennsylvania and went on to earn $US30 million for Columbia for an outlay of a $US6 million.

FYI: For thematically-related material, interested parties should check out Silkwood (1983).




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