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Pro Nukes!

'Pandora’s Promise' promises to make you feel like shit

July 9, 2013, 12:00 am
Add Pandora’s Promise to the increasing number of agitprop documentaries hitting movie theaters. And whether moviegoers agree or disagree with the movie’s politics, one thing about agitprop docs is unchangeable. They’re irritating.

Take this sentiment, expressed via one of Pandora’s Promise’s talking heads: To be anti-nuclear energy is to be pro-fossil fuels. 

Congratulations, filmmakers. You’ve alienated me.

It’s not that Pandora’s Promise wears its heart so completely on its sleeve; it’s that it’s kind of a dick about it. Telling viewers over and over that they’re part of the problem really grates after 87 minutes. 

The purpose of Pandora’s Promise, ostensibly, is to explain how five former anti-nuclear energy activists become pro-nuclear. It does that, again and again and again and again. It also has total contempt for its audience by 1) berating it; 2) berating the activists who disagree with it; and 3) not making a case for nuclear energy other than “fossil fuel is bad.”

Yes, fossil fuel is bad, but the people who populate Pandora’s Promise are kind of like Ethan Hawke’s character in Reality Bites. Holier-than-thou jerks. At least on screen. In real life, they’re probably lovely, and make passionate cases for nuclear energy. Watching this, you’d never know it. 

Written and directed by Robert Stone
CCA Cinematheque
87 min.


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