Sharper and more focused than most of the catastrophe/conspiracy films to crop up in the late '70s, James Bridges' The China Syndrome benefits from strong performances from Jane Fonda, Jack Lemmon, and (co-producer) Michael Douglas. The film's pronounced anti-nuclear message might have come across as preachy in the hands of a lesser director, but Bridges imbues the film with a sense of unrelenting tension and documentary-style realism. More than a mere indictment of nuclear power and its questionable safety practices, the film also presents a knowing look at hypocritical television news broadcasts and the suppression of information on all levels. In one of the more eerily unfortunate instances of cinematic timing, the Three Mile Island power plant disaster occurred only 11 days after The China Syndrome's release.
by Matthew Doberman review