Into Eternity (PG)

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The ViewLondon Review

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Review byMatthew Turner12/11/2010

Three out of Five stars
Running time: 78 mins

Intriguing, strikingly shot eco-documentary that explores a fascinating idea and raises some troubling questions, but which eventually becomes repetitive and is occasionally pretentious.

What's it all about?
Directed by Michael Madsen (no relation to the Reservoir Dog), Into Eternity is a Swedish documentary that explores the construction of the Onkalo nuclear waste storage facility in Finland. Specifically, the film tackles the question of how to keep future generations away from the facility, given that it needs to last 100,000 years; as a point of comparison, the pyramids were never meant to be opened either and they were built only a few thousand years ago.

The film is shot in a coldly clinical style, interspersing shots of Onkalo's construction (the name means ‘hiding place’) with talking head interviews with the scientists, technicians, lawmakers and commentators involved in the project. Madsen himself also crops up at regular intervals, addressing his film to future generations, warning them away from Onkalo and asking them chilling questions about how the future turned out, i.e., whether nuclear waste spilled out into nature and made large swathes of the planet uninhabitable.

The Good
Essentially, this is an eco-doc with a difference, presented almost as a science fiction film. The facts themselves are mind-boggling – the project won't even be completed until the 22nd century, for example and it basically needs to be able to store all the nuclear waste in the world.

The film lays out some stark realities, such as the fact that existing nuclear waste storage systems have a limited shelf life, given that they rely on a power supply that can't be guaranteed indefinitely. It also explores some fascinating ideas, such as how to keep future generations away from Onkalo, given that language itself may have evolved in unimaginable ways in 100,000 years (at one point, they seriously discuss using Edvard Munch's The Scream painting as a warning).

The Bad
The main problem with the film is that it eventually becomes repetitive, even within its relatively short running time. It's also painfully slow throughout and Madsen's appearances seem a little superfluous, not to say pretentious.

Worth seeing?
Into Eternity is a chilling eco-doc that explores a fascinating subject and is definitely worth seeing, despite being weakened by slow pacing and repetition.

Film Trailer

Into Eternity (PG)
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Content updated: 22/10/2017 22:12

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