Tagline: On November 13, 1974, Karen Silkwood, an employee of a nuclear facility, left to meet with a reporter from the New York Times. She never got there.
I misinterpreted "She never got there." as "She went missing." What I thought would be the beginning of the movie was the end of the movie!!! And it was quite a job to sit all through to the end. The wikipedia page on Karen Silkwood was rather more interesting (especially the last para under 'Estate of Karen Silkwood v. Kerr-McGee' section. Talk about conspiracy theories!!!) than the movie (something that I also felt about 'The Elephant Man', but 'The Elephant Man' was still better than this... way better). No, I wasn't looking for big time action with blasts & explosions (mind you that 'North Country', one of my favorites, didn't have much action either) that I ended up being disappointed. But I wasn't looking for such a slow & dull story-telling either.
The performances by almost everyone, specifically Meryl Streep & Kurt Russell, were great but not enough to save me from the ample amount of boredom that the movie tends to generate.
Meryl Streep is in absolute top form. What is most impressive is it is not a big showy role like some of hers' are, but what we see is a real person, all the minute details of what makes a performance feel life-like. It is not in the big showy speeches, but in the everyday moments that Streep shines, the little moments i.e. gestures etc., that brings her character off the screen and into your consciousness. She is supported by Cher and Kurt Russell both terrific as well, hitting the exact notes that Streep does. The three together are heartbreaking and real.
The script from Nora Ephron and Alice Arlen is impressive even if it panders to emotions and somewhat manipulates - this does hurt the film a bit. The pacing is especially good though, for it allows you to understand these people, this woman and their connections to each other as it moves towards Karen's contamination and the subsequent conspiracy. Finally, it is Nichols' assuredness with the camera that levels the film out and makes it work. It could've been just another passion project/ real-life story brought sloppily to the screen, but with his hands, and many other talents involved, it becomes a hard-nosed, and well made drama.