Documentarian Robert Kenner (“Merchants of Doubt,” “Food Inc.”) has turned his attention to the management of America’s nuclear arsenal in “Command and Control,” which just premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival. Its first trailer is now available. The doc is an adaptation of Eric Schlosser’s book of the same name; the author also wrote “Fast Food Nation” (no relation to “Food Inc.”) and co-produced “There Will Be Blood.”
The trailer hints at the beginning of the Atomic Age, from America’s first nuclear tests to its increasing stockpile, before focusing on the largely unknown story of a deadly accident that took place at a Damascus, Arkansas missile complex in 1980. As such, Kenner is mostly working with decades-old archival footage that at the time was wrapped in secrecy — officials weren’t even allowed to confirm or deny that the site even hosted the Titan II missile in question. “Nuclear weapons are machines,” one interviewee intones in voiceover, “and every machine ever invented eventually goes wrong.” And you thought nuclear anxiety ended with the Cold War.
Kenner received an Academy Award nomination for “Food Inc.” “Command and Control” will open at New York’s Film Forum on September 14 before expanding to select cities nationwide. It will then have its broadcast premiere on PBS’s American Experience.