• Review: Atomica (2017)

    From Mark R. Leeper@21:1/5 to All on Fri Mar 10 09:35:00 2017
    (a film review by Mark R. Leeper)

    CAPSULE: ATOMICA is a science fiction mystery set in the
    near future and involving the last nuclear power plant
    and two men who operate it. When its communications go
    off-line an engineer is sent to restore the connection.
    She finds more questions than answers. This is a
    low-budget and claustrophobic film, most of which takes
    place underground with a plot that develops only slowly.
    Rating: high 0 (-4 to +4) or 5/10

    With science fiction films these days being about superheroes, time
    travel, genetic engineering and nano-technology it has been quite a
    while since atomic power has been much of an attraction for a
    movie. In the 1950s there were films like THE ATOMIC SUBMARINE,
    THE ATOMIC KID, and THE ATOMIC CITY. Six decades later I don't
    know many people whose pulse will race at the thought of a film
    inspired by atomic energy. The word "atomic" just does not have
    the cachet it once did.

    A few years into the future there has been a large nuclear disaster
    including a triple meltdown. Nuclear power is being abandoned and
    one last nuclear power plant still is running, just where the
    triple meltdown occurred. To convert the leaked radiation and make
    it reusable energy is the purpose of this plant. When its
    communications go unexpectedly offline on Christmas day the
    government needs to know what is going on. They send in Abby Dixon
    (played by Sarah Habel) to get the communications operating again.
    She finds that two operators run the whole plant, Robinson Scott
    (Dominic Monaghan) and Dr. Zek (Tom Sizemore). But Zek has left
    the plant days ago and has not returned. Since this is a highly
    contaminated area, Zek may well be dead from radiation or perhaps
    murdered by Robinson. Robinson's behavior starts friendly but soon
    becomes a little threatening. As Abby stays longer and feels not
    particularly welcome she is having bad dreams, seeing herself as a
    child. Abby has to find out what has happened here. Did Robinson
    kill Dr. Zek? Is Zek alive somewhere and if so, what is he doing?
    The film devolves into a game of "guess who is not what he

    ATOMICA takes place mostly underground in cylindrical tunnels and
    subterranean rooms. This adds to the claustrophobic effect without
    adding much to the budget needed. (The film's original title was
    DEEP BURIAL.) The wardrobe decisions are a little weird. For some
    reason the men wear coveralls, but Abby wears a tight-fitting cat
    suit and an aerodynamic bike-racing helmet. She does no racing.
    Dominic Monaghan's character is named Robinson Scott. (Is this a
    reference to TV's "I Spy?") The reactor plant in question looks a
    little broken down and poorly maintained for a nuclear reactor.
    Relative newcomer Dagen Merrill directs a screenplay by Kevin
    Burke, Federico Fernandez-Armesto, and Adam Gyngell.

    Even at a short 82 minutes this film drags with too much wait for
    too little payoff. And too many questions are left apparently
    unanswered or answered with mysterious visual sequences. I rate
    ATOMICA a high 0 on the -4 to +4 scale or 5/10. ATOMICA will have
    a limited release to theaters on March 17.

    Film Credits:

    What others are saying:

    Mark R. Leeper
    Copyright 2017 Mark R. Leeper

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