Oscar-nominated director Marjane Satrapi returns to filmmaking after a five-year hiatus with “Radioactive,” a biopic of Marie Curie starring Rosamund Pike in a powerhouse performance as the famed chemist and physicist. Amazon Studios has dropped a first trailer for the film, which premieres on Prime Video on July 24.
“Radioactive,” which first bowed at the Toronto International Film Festival last September, tells the story of the pioneering scientist, beginning in the 1870s through her resonance in the 21st century, including her romantic and professional partnerships and breakthroughs in medical study that changed science forever. In late 19th-century Paris, the Polish-born Marie Sklodowska met fellow scientist Pierre Curie (Sam Riley). Together, they revolutionized the meaning of radioactivity, winning a Nobel Prize in Physics for their pioneering work, which made Curie the first woman to earn that prize. Pierre died tragically in 1906, sending Curie deeper into her field of study, winning a second Nobel Prize, but leading to devastating consequences, including the life-saving and life-destroying properties of her discovery, up until her death from exposure to radiation in 1934. The film also stars Anya Taylor-Joy.
In his review out of Toronto, IndieWire’s Eric Kohn wrote, “Rosamund Pike has a penchant for playing determined women navigating oppressive male-dominated environments, from the femme fatale of ‘Gone Girl’ to war photographer Marie Colvin in last year’s ‘A Private War.’ In the latest example, ‘Radioactive,’ Pike delivers a powerful embodiment of another tragic hero named Marie. As pioneering physicist and chemist Marie Curie, Pike delivers a dazzling performance rich with the struggles of a life defined by perilous discoveries and great personal loss. As directed by Marjane Satrapi, this discursive biopic struggles whenever it cuts away from her drama to explore the bigger picture — with peculiar flash-forwards to a nuclear future — but Pike helps fuse it together.”
The film finds Satrapi, best known for the animated adaptation of her own graphic novel “Persepolis,” infusing a period piece with her own idiosyncratic style. Her last film was the 2014 comedy-thriller hybrid “The Voices,” starring Ryan Reynolds, but the Iranian-born director also earned acclaim in 2011 for “Chicken with Plums,” another experimental adaptation of her own novel.