Catherine Linstrum’s Nuclear is a small scale dramatic thriller which radiates because of strong performances from Emilia Jones and George MacKay. It plays with memory and time, shifting exceptions as it develops. It’s not fully successful in its aims, but Linstrum’s film is curious enough to hold the attention throughout.
Emma (Emilia Jones) and her mother (Sienna Guillory) are on the run following a brutal attack. The pair seek refuge in a remote cottage where Emma meets a parkour loving boy (George MacKay). They investigate an abandoned nuclear power plant and as their friendship grows, Emma’s troubled past draws closer to her present.
Nuclear feels cinematic sketch, a collection of ideas which are never fully fleshed out or explained. There’s a lot going on but the lack of development means that Linstrum’s film (co-written with David-John Newman) lacks depth. Any dramatic weight is brought to the fore by the textured work from Jones and McKay. A couple of the film’s plot twists are familiar and they’ve been used to greater effect in other, better pictures.
Far from a dramatic dud, but sadly not as good as it could have been, Nuclear is worth your time due to the very strong performances from its young leading actors.