Coming to theatres today, Wednesday, September 14: COMMAND AND CONTROL
Robert Kenner’s chronicle of a near nuclear catastrophe on American soil premiered at Tribeca this Spring. Other fest screenings have included Sheffield, AFI Docs, Traverse City, deadCENTER, and the upcoming Camden and GlobeDocs.
Damascus, Arkansas might have ended up as infamous a location as Chernobyl or Fukushima on September 18-19, 1980 had events played out only slightly differently. During those dates, in an underground silo, a dropped wrench socket nearly led to the detonation of a potent Titan II missile warhead during a routine maintenance. Using re-enactments filmed in a decommissioned Arizona Titan II missile silo for added verisimilitude, together with the recollections of the teams on the ground who reacted to avert disaster, plus various others who intersected with the events of that evening, Kenner draws the viewer in to experience just how close the country came to facing the reality of a nuclear detonation. While the film remains unconvincing about the inevitability of such an accident happening again in the future, with more dire consequences, Kenner nevertheless constructs an engrossing retelling of a disturbing near-miss.