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Woah what a cast… William Hurt as Richard Feynman, being dragged into the bureaucracy and politics of the Commission investigating the failure of the Challenger space shuttle launch, that commission being run by ambiguous-as-ever Brian Dennehy (note to self: have not seen “First Blood” in ages!), and Bruce Greenwood (what?? He also played in First Blood?? Is that to be taken as an in-joke, with the nerdy Professor as Rambo?) balancing between the dangerous edges of corporate and institutional self-interest.

I have an interest in that story since I read Feynman’s Annex to the Commission Report, it is a fabulous story of institutional failure – not quite a crime story, and because it maintains its soberness and does not easily identify villains and heroes, it makes a great example for the complexity of reality and the thrills of a scientific approach. The film tidies up the complexity a bit, and jumps on the now infamous O-ring bandwagon as soon as it is identified. I guess that can be justified in the context of a made-for-tv movie of 90 minutes running time. I still wished they had taken a bit more time allowed to hint at the sheer magnitude of mismanagement, corporate failure and backroom shuffling.

Still: a solid bit of infotainment, with an infallible William Hurt at its heart, the lonesome warrior against all efforts of cover up and make problems go away, the Don Quichote on his horse of science. As it is, his books deserve a second reading too, I remember that decades ago when I read some of his writings, I immediately felt like a brighter and better person…

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