On HBO's Chernobyl.
Ill-fated power plant workers confirm that the reactor has indeed exploded by staring down into a deep, burning pit. Flames rise up with an unnatural ferocity. It looks less like an industrial accident. More like an Old God awaking from under the Earth’s crust.
When they turn around their faces are red from the heat and radiation. We know what is coming, but we are still horrified when it does. Human beings literally come undone over a period of days. Their skin blisters into paste as they struggle to breathe on hospital beds. Their eyes bleed, their flesh and organs liquefy. “That’s my husband” the desperate wife of an exposed firefighter tells his nurse. “Not anymore,” the nurse replies. “He’s something else now.”
Less gruesome but still macabre is any shot with people – soldiers, power plant workers, firefighters, civilians conscripted into cleanup – wearing protective gear. Gas-masks are of course there, obscuring the face, along with huge lead bibs, clunky boots, …