Plant workers, abandoned by medical staff, safe for one scared young nurse, are disillusioned about the country and politicians that left them to die. So the acting efforts are to be located somewhere on an average level or below. And one more thing: a nuclear plant operates on electricity generated by power plants. By the end of the movie the President phones Pyeongseob and asks him for advice. In an unadorned manner the director shows us the consequences of radioactive contamination, the subject of being moribund is coming into effect nicely, but despite all well done and sometimes subtle and then again quite straightforward criticism on the Korean government, Park is heading for a familiar terrain in the end, when he commits all the mistakes during an endlessly long tearfest we are seeing from Korean movies all too often. And few hours later - an earthquake strikes.
Meanwhile, all surrounding areas have been evacuated because of the rising radioactivity level, but they don't know the actual danger and the exact situation since the president's advisors keep the media in the dark. So when the President asks for volunteers, they are even too tired to curse. He panicked, he cried, repeatedly saying that he didn't want to die, that he did nothing to be served such fate. They wanted to do this as fast they could - and they paid the price as the valves exploded blowing half the cooling tower with them. And this moment of sheer fear of death I've been remembering, reliving and thinking about. But seawater would damage the reactor permanently and the board is against it. Arguments are welcome, fights are not.
The workers, wounded in the explosion start to exhibit first signs of the radiation poisoning - vomiting, bleeding, dizziness. Of course, the Fukushima disaster 2011 is basis for the pivot of this story as well. As the operator says, with a lovely naivete - Korea has absolutely not one place to store spent fuel rods. The country was left to plunder, so only one military clan Choi and lowest classes stood up to Mongols and started to fight back as guerilla. Then and only then Pyeongseob gets the approval for cooling the reactor with the saltwater. He is dating Yeon-Joo Kim Joo-Hyun , while working at the local nuclear power plant.
Yet, he is working there as well, since he failed at his attempt to stand on his own two feet and went bankrupt. And it's just a shame. The situation quickly spirals out of control, leading the entire nation to panic. Kim Joo-hyun on the other hand isn't convincing as is the case with the rest of the female cast and so the scenes with her and the mother are often enough so drama- and clichéloaden that it's almost painful. Meanwhile, Pyung-Sub Jung Jin-Young works at the same nuclear power plant. There was nothing nationalistic about it, in fact, the country as a whole got kicked in the face. A long way - but we are starting to ask ourselves when he is supposed to go down that road exactly.
Meanwhile, Pyeong-seok works at the same plant. When his client run aways with another manager to America, Choon-Sub goes to America himself. Repeated rule breaking will result in warnings followed by blacklisting upon non-compliance. Koreans were often abandoned by their officials and rulers, during Mongol invasion in Goryeo period, kings, court and officials fled to Ganghwa island to wait Mongols out. To prevent another nuclear disaster, Jae-Hyeok and his co-workers return to the nuclear power plant.
The most notorious habit was in the military: in most cases the titles and functions of local commanders were given to sons of civil families, who often knew swords only from family walls and strategies from classical books from Tang China. Electricity is the safety switch - it powers up the cooling system. The dome explodes, sending off a cloud of radiation, mostly Caesium-137. Jaehyeok decided on staying and detonating the explosives but he was far from a fearless hero. There is no introduction full of slapstick-like individuals as we are normally used to see until everything ultimately culminates in a dramatic finale, but instead we are thrown right into the action. Of course he grows as an individual as the story progresses, but he has a long way ahead of him.
But he ordered an evacuation of thousands of people from the area surrounding the plant which resulted in streets blocked by about every vehicle available. They repeated this after Japanese invasion in 1592 - they were badly damaging Japanese troops, especially their arriere-garde. Because after 15-20 minutes the disaster has already struck the townspeople. Jaehyeok ask then to be connected with his family to send them one final message. After all, this would send up the costs for repairing the reactor. At first we get to know the power plant crew, living in a small coastal town that nobody visits and the citizens have only the sea and the plant to work.
Not very strong, not very long. There is also military mentioned - answering why the soldiers weren't dispatched to the site to help the firefighters dying on the scene or getting radiation poisoning, the Minister says that it was considered inhumane to send the soldiers there, because the radiation is too high and they would die. But at the same time they know the death awaits them, and a horrible one from the radiation exposure, a painful wait until every organ turns to mush while skin will boil and bleed. That the movie is too long with its running time of 135 minutes is already posing a problem, but the fact that ten minutes fall on cheap drama is another disaster - next to the reactor incident, that is. This was also the first Korean movie picked by Netflix for a worldwide distribution. And only one person is competent enough to put the explosives around the new tank's ceiling - so he has to stay while his colleagues seal off the room he's in.
An earthquake strikes the small town where Jae-hyeok lives and causes explosions at the plant. Foreign embassies alert their nationals to leave Korea - and chaos gets worse, thousands of people flood airports and stations. For instance, the firefighters just standing around and waiting for instructions while survivors of the explosion are looking for their colleagues in the rubble are clearly reminiscent of the non actions of the government during the Sewol-ferry incident. Jeong Jin-yeong at least can be seen in a decent supporting role and with his depiction of the incapable president Kim Myeong-min surely would have ended up on the ex-presidents black list for artists. Pyeong-seok Jeong Jin-yeong has already warned everyone about the dangers and now desperately tries to prevent a meltdown. I do believe people are confusing two things: showing nuclear disaster is not the same as being anti-nuclear. In his report, Pyeongseob pointed out that the plant might be severely damaged during any incident like this, he pointed out that 1700 km.