Everyday Activist - Command and Control (CIFF 2016)

Posted on Thursday, September 22, 2016 at 06:00 PM

Command and Control (CIFF 2016)

Movie Review by Everyday Activist X CalgaryMovies.com

I’ve been busy going to different writing events through the University of Calgary and the Calgary Public Library instead of watching the slew of documentaries in my inbox. Happily though I learned a lot about storytelling from people I admire that will hopefully be reflected in this review. The movie, COMMAND AND CONTROL talks about a nuclear weapon’s accident as a device to open a broader conversation about nuclear weapon safety in the 20th century. Given the amount of drama around this particular incident in Arkansas I’m pretty sure someone could sell a screenplay to Hollywood. The documentary is based on a book of the same name.

In the Cold War era, American weapon’s development thrived. Thousands of nuclear weapons were built to combat the Soviet Union. Many of these posed a much greater threat to Americans than they ever did to the Soviets. Accidents, while common, were hidden even from those who were supposed to be responsible for safety and oversight of these programs. Not until classified files became available did people fully understand the extent of the dangers Americans faced from American made weapons housed on American soil. Instead of undertaking formal investigations to uncover why these problems kept happening, the military simply assigned “human error” as the cause.

The main story talks about one of these events, where a nuclear weapon had its fuel tank punctured after a ratchet head fell from the platform. Most the men on the base were air force soldiers in their late teens and early twenties. Lack of experience and training with nuclear technology, may have been something investigators could have mentioned instead of human error. Much of this story was reminiscent of Tim Hetherington’s and Sebastian Junger’s work, which appeared over 30 years later. Young men were easily manipulated into joining the war machine as expendable resources. Even in the film, when the professionals showed up to deal with the dangerous situation, people commented that they couldn’t believe that the specialists who were supposed to save them probably couldn’t go to the bar.

I remember when George W. Bush went on his rant about weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. Good thing no one investigated the U.S. Who knows how many they have on and off the books. While production of nuclear weapons has decreased, way too many are still available. Command and Control plays at 5 pm at Eau Claire in Theatre 4 on Friday September 23rd, 2016 and if you can’t make that screening it will play again on Wednesday September 28th, 2016, at 9:30 pm at Eau Claire Theatre 3.

Calgary Showtimes: 17th Calgary International Film Festival 2016 > | Command and Control >


NOTE: The showtimes listed on CalgaryMovies.com come directly from the theatres' announced schedules, which are distributed to us on a weekly basis. All showtimes are subject to change without notice or recourse to CalgaryMovies.com.