Countdown To Zero Review

A convenient half truth.

Despite the fanfare and no doubt good intentions, Countdown To Zero is little more than some poorly constructed and ludicrously heavy handed american propaganda.

Produced by Lawrence Bender, the man behind An Inconvenient Truth, Countdown To Zero is the latest instalment in the renaissance documentary films have enjoyed since Bender’s previous success.

The aim of Countdown To Zero is unquestionably noble; to raise awareness of the threat posed by nuclear arms stockpiles of the nine nations around the world who have them.

It begins with the origins of the nuclear bomb, incorporating plenty of stock footage with its founding father, Robert Oppenheimer.

Then we move onto to sensationalised scaremongering about what would happen if an atomic bomb were dropped on a major city, as if we don’t already know this or there’s anything we could do if this situation came to pass.

Again, for any Hiroshima and Nagasaki apologists out there who believe this act of terrorism was in any way justified.

These scenes are commonly accompanied by the most inappropriate score imaginable, with middle of the road american rawk guitar playing over the top of some truly horrifying acts. One montage manages to shoehorn footage of piloted planes crashing into the earth, spacecraft exploding upon launching and even Madrid’s underground bombing into it.

All while listening to the mellow sounds of Nickelback or some other yank twaddle.

There’s no factual information displayed or any other reason for this gratuitous footage of real people being murdered to be included; other than the rather transparent attempt by film-maker Lucy Walker to terrify the viewer in the cheapest conceivable manner.

After about 45 minutes of this nonsense, I was really struggling to see what direction this wretched film was going to take. All Countdown To Zero does is repeatedly hit you over the head with leaden visuals, retarded sound bites and cheap sentiment.

But then, hallelujah praise be to God, the crux of this film ascends like a self righteous inter continental ballistic missile.

Delivered in the traditional documentary talking head format, alleged experts in the field of nuclear missiles, including Tony Blair and some american pastor, spout their in no way prejudiced, christian views about how dangerous it would be if countries in the Middle East ever developed an atomic bomb.

Every single oil-rich, Middle Eastern nation is labelled a threat to global peace should they ever acquire a nuclear bomb in Countdown To Zero. With the notable exception of israel, the only Middle Eastern country that actually have nuclear missiles.

How peculiar that the producers missed these guys off the list of potential enemies to america.

Sorry, I meant “world peace”.

Even when illustrating that america and Russia possess 95% of all nuclear missiles in the world today through hokey graphics; it’s still the threat of all those brown countries like Iran, Afghanistan and Libya that’s talked up in Countdown To Zero.

The problem is not these countries trying to acquire this technology in order to defend themselves from america’s oil obsessed foreign policy; it’s america’s profligate culture and bloated way of life, that necessitates their warmongering and oil obsessed foreign policy in order to maintain the excess they’ve become accustomed to.

And, naturally, the producers have conveniently forgotten to mention that the only country to ever use a nuclear bomb on another nation was, you know, the good ol’ us of a.

Countdown to Zero’s conclusion, however, tries it’s damndest to steal away the prize for most abhorrent facet of this documentary full of deceit and half truths.

Apparently, the reason we have nuclear missiles in the world today is because we haven’t told politicians loudly enough that we don’t want them.

Astonishingly, Countdown to Zero would have you believe that us ordinary folk are the reason for all the nuclear missiles in the world, as opposed to some archaic hangover from the cold war between Russia and america.

Or man’s inherent desire to destroy everything around him.

*sigh*

Thank god, this segment signalled the countdown to the end of this preposterous propaganda.

Jonathan Campbell

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June 2011
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