Radioactive: Film Review


Radioactive was originally due to be released in March, but cinemas closed due to the coronavirus a few days before its opening, leaving its future uncertain. It is now being released on digital in the U.K. today.

Polish scientist Marie Sklodowska (Rosamund Pike) is unable to pursue her research in Paris due to a lack of resources. Despite her determination to do everything on her own, Sklodowska agrees to team up with fellow scientist Pierre Curie (Tom Riley), with him providing the superior equipment and lab space to allow her to make the breakthrough discovery of two new radioactive materials. The duo falls in love and marry and are awarded the Nobel Prize for their work before the negative effects of radiation become more widely known.

Pike gives a solid performance as the headstrong feminist scientist. She suffers no fools and refuses to be treated differently because she’s a woman. She doesn’t want help, she doesn’t want marriage or children to make her sacrifice her scientific career and is way ahead of her time. Both the Curies are lauded for their discovery and held in high praise but she soon falls from grace for embarking on an affair following the death of her husband and for making “poison”. Pike does well but in one scene, in particular, I thought she overdid it. Riley and Aneurin Barnard as their colleague Paul also provide reliable support, while Anya Taylor-Joy briefly pops up to play the Curies’ daughter Irene.

Given that the real-life story of Curie is interesting enough, it’s a shame Marjane Satrapi decided to play around with time, create dream sequences and use flash-forwards to illustrate the devastating impacts radioactive material has had in modern times, such as Hiroshima and Chernobyl. These major events are illustrated in a weird, surreal manner, are unnecessary, and just distract from the main story.

Radioactive was interesting and enlightening because I had very little knowledge of Curie’s story. It might not do much for you if are in the know because the film isn’t told in the most thrilling way and the narrative can be jarring and confusing at times.

Available on digital platforms from Monday 15th June and on DVD and VOD from 24th July

Rating: 3/5

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