[Review] Particle Fever

Science is a subject matter that most people, including me, would rather not wade around in. The insane creations and laws of the world all seem to take their toll on the feeble minds of the average person. However, this fails to stop interest in major inventions or discoveries that have a positive economic impact for all. We may not all express interest in science, but its omnipresence is undeniable.

As far as the science field goes, there appears to have been one theory in particular that has left scientists, churchgoers, and educators scratching their heads for years: how did the earth begin? Well, I guess most churchgoers will yell at you how it ACTUALLY started without even hearing other arguments, but Particle Fever would offer more to argue against it.

Particle Fever
Director: Mark Levinson
Rating: NR
Release Date: July 1st iTunes VOD, July 15 all other VOD platforms

Particle Fever follows the likes of six different physicists from 2007 all the way up to 2012 as they work together on the Large Hadron Collider at CERN, or better known as the European Organization for Nuclear Research. For those who can remember, this is the large machine that would reproduce what happened at the “Big Bang” that frequented the news for years. This was the largest and most expensive experiment in the history of the planet. It brought together over 10,000 scientists from over 100 countries, some even rivalries politically. By the end of the over ten year old experiment, these brilliant scientists hoped to be able to recreate the events of the Big Bang and find the Higgs boson particle, which would essentially explain how all matter was created.

It wasn’t all fun and games for these hard-working scientists though. While their involvement may have been the honor of their lives, the upkeep with this 17 mile wide creation wasn’t always easy. Working 16 hours a day for years on end, it is actually surprising how they managed to keep their spirits up for so long. However, so much energy was encapsulated by each in Levinson’s directing, and a viewer couldn’t help but feel just as excited for this experiment to run for its first time as the people who were in charge of it.

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The subject matter of the film is a little dense, yes, but when watching the film, it doesn’t take precedence of all it has to offer. Testimonies and beautifully displayed graphics from all of the scientists selected for the film clear up most confusion that viewers may have. However, this isn’t to say that one will become a master physicist after watching the movie. What I really liked about this film was its ability to make me feel like I was with these scientists over the years experiencing the same trials and errors that they all did. It’s execution was done with such energy, and I think this is what kept me going throughout.

Now, if you personally asked me how I felt about the film, I would praise it with high regard. Unfortunately, though, the density of the subject matter and it’s continual discussion throughout the film may come across as a drag to those who are not usually fascinated by the world of science. I felt at some moments of the film that it was kind of redundant, but at the same time the redundancy was necessary to make sure viewers could keep up with each stage of their large experiment. As far as documentaries go, it was most definitely one of the best ones I have ever viewed, and I hope that most will put their scientific indifferences aside in order to enjoy this optimistic work.

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Mark Levinson has a few great credits to his name, but after watching this documentary, I can’t help but hope that this is something he will continue to pursue. I feel as if the explanation of science and its theories is something that could bore most, but there were very few moments where I wasn’t anxious to find out what was going to happen next. Particle Fever is a piece of work that defines a scientific generation. If there is any interest in defying religious values, definitely check out Particle Fever as soon as possible.

Mackenzie O'Brien

Mackenzie O’Brien is a Digital Cinema major with a concentration in Screenwriting at DePaul University. When she isn’t applying SPF 100+ to her translucent skin, she’s usually avoiding the sun’s fiendish ways by watching films, catching concerts, and (most importantly) writing.

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