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on 27 January 2011
Karen Silkwood (superbly played by Meryl Streep) worked in one of the laboratories of the Kerr-McGee nuclear processing facility in Crescent, Oklahoma and her job involved making pultonium pellets for nuclear reactor fuel rods. She became a union activist and became concerned about the lax security and practices within the facility that she regarded as health and safety hazards to the workers there. Without the knowledge of her employers she examined x-rays taken of structures and pipes in the plant and claimed that when faults were found within the facility as revealed by the x-rays the evidence on the plates was removed to save the company the considerable cost of carrying out repairs.

In 1974 she became repeatedly contaminated and accused the management of lacing the urine samples she had to provide following the first contamination. Her house was also found to contain high levels of radiation so she underwent tests at the Los Alamos Laboratory and it was confirmed that she had an abnormally high level of radiation within her body exposing her to the risk of contracting cancer.

She carried on her union activities making herself very unpopular with the management at the plant especially when she gave evidence to the Atomic Energy Commission and she became convinced she was being targeted by the company because of what she was doing. On 13 November 1974 she was killed when her car careered off the road and the circumstances surrounding her death have been the subject of debate and speculation ever since.

On the day she died she met a reporter from the New York Times and took a sheaf of documents with her which were never found when the car was found.

It is at this point that the film ends but events following the crash are just as interesting as the issues covered in the film. The patrolman who found the car said there were two tablets of sedatives in the car and a quantity of marijuana. There were skid marks on the road indicating that the car had careered out of control and damage and traces of paint chips were found on the rear of Silkwood's car which could have been caused by another car ramming into the back of her vehicle.

Silkwood's family took Kerr McGee to court and were awarded $515,000 in damages which was later reduced to $5,000 but in 1984 this decision was reversed and the £515,000 award was reinastated.

Streep plays Silkwood as a committed union activist who may have paid the ultimate price of alienating her employers and it is significant that the facility she worked in was closed a year after her death and is still contaminated ground.

We will never know how her life ended and the director of the film, Mike Nichols, leaves it to the audience to speculate about whether Silkwood was murdered by her employers or was the victim of an tragic accident.
7 people found this helpful
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on 7 March 2018
Although it says 'digitally remastered' on the box, the picture quality is fairly poor. The audio quality has been enhanced however.
As for the film itself it, is solid and well acted, but let down by an overblown and turgid final scene that uses the song 'Amazing Grace' to 'add' emotion, when Georges Delarue's sweet score would have worked fine.
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on 29 May 2017
The film is an absolute classic.
However, this dvd version is not good.
No matter how much I tweak the dvd player and tv settings I can't get this to play in widescreen mode without looking distorted or heavily pixelated.
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on 27 March 2011
Excellent movie when the US could still produce something with a message, something real, with no need for special effects.
Excellent acting by all, including Cher and Kurt Russel. I do not agree with Amazon's review that the movie lacks delivering a conclusion. There is no need for a real conclusion, the movie and its acting should be taken the way it is.
10 people found this helpful
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on 8 July 2011
This is the story of Karen Silkwood who was murdered by persons unknown as she was on her way to expose the awful safety breaches at a nuclear facility in the USA in the 70s.

It stars Meryl Streep and Cher who both act their socks off in this great drama about the dark side of the nuclear industry.

Definitely a must see film.

You won't be needing a Silkwood Shower after watching this film...but you may need to watch it to understand what that means ;-)
3 people found this helpful
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on 12 December 2011
Having Meryl Streep, Cher and Kurt Russell as the main three stars of the film certainly makes you want to see the film through to the end.
Based on actual happenings, Silkwood tells the story of an employee at a nuclear plant who has been affected by radiation. Her experiences and attempts to change management attitudes are on display in the film. All three stars perform their roles exceptionally well.
If you want decent drama without the CGI rubbish we have today, then Silkwood is for you.
Enjoy.
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on 27 July 2017
Love this film!! A classic in standing up for right and truth against the Big Boys. A non soap-sudsy inspiration of just what any "ordinary" person can do if they put their integrity first. It really cost her, but Wow!! See it.
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on 18 July 2017
Still worth a second viewing as surprisingly fresh
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on 12 December 2015
Seen the film before interesting film and fascinating story but ending is obviously conjecture as no one really knows the cause of her crase
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on 4 November 2016
A must see movie with a realistic story extremely well acted by a truly great star. What more can I say?
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