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Shadow Makers
USA 1989
Directed by Roland Joffé
Running time 126 minutes
Rated PG
1 stars

One’s got to wonder about any film that has John Cusack playing a nuclear physicist, and a brilliant one at that. It would seem that credibility was not an issue, an extremely strange choice for a film purporting to tell history. This uninspired account of the U.S. Government’s development of the A-bomb tries to do what The Right Stuff (1983) did so well for the US’s early space program and fails dismally in a swamp of excruciating visual and verbal clichés. The production (originally released in the US as Fat Man and Little Boy) has some big names attached to it including Paul Newman as Gen. Leslie R. Groves, Roland Joff é as director who had considerable success with his first 2 films, The Killing Fields (1984) and The Mission (1986), Vilmos Zsigmond as cinematographer and music by Ennio Morricone. None of them manage to individually or collectively lift this above the banal. Those interested in the subject may like to seek out a documentary by Jon Else, The Day After Trinity (1980), which the makers of this film have clearly seen but to no evident benefit.BH




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