Into Eternity

3 out of 5 stars
MESSAGE IN A BOTTLE Madsen greets us at the end of civilization.

Time Out says

3 out of 5 stars

One sees sights not intended for human eyes in this ghostly documentary, which explores the dim, underground tunnels of a nuclear-waste site. The Finnish facility, Onkalo, is a superstructure that, once completed, will spiral into darkness and be sealed for a necessary 100,000 years: a radioactive tombstone impervious to our wars, calamities, even a second ice age. One can forgive the director his dramatic flourish, appearing by match light and solemnly addressing his future viewers from inside the time capsule; he's stumbled upon a spooky subject, very likely the last remaining vestige of our civilization. If you're of an apocalyptic mind-set, the doc will work like catnip.

Still, such tours shouldn't make you feel like you've been entombed in a theater for thousands of millennia. Voices of calm Scandinavian scientists have a slightly narcotizing effect, as does gliding camerawork. Anyone who's ever watched a Twilight Zone episode can imagine several ways to expand the dull palette: Who might encounter this landfill? Will they comprehend it? Also, the plan didn't work so well last time we tried it, with Egypt's pyramids (built a mere 5,000 years ago). Compare and contrast? Into Eternity has the grandeur of ominous suggestion, but might have benefitted from a director more creatively unbound---an Errol Morris ready to play around at the end of the world.

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