Home » “Einstein and the Bomb” on Netflix: what is this slightly offbeat docufiction?

“Einstein and the Bomb” on Netflix: what is this slightly offbeat docufiction?

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“Einstein and the Bomb” on Netflix: what is this slightly offbeat docufiction?

Be careful, misleading title! If Albert Einstein is indeed present in this documentary co-produced by Netflix and the BBC, the bomb, atomic of course, only occupies a very small part of the program. The latter is, however, not devoid of interest, whether in substance or form.

This is a docufiction, where several scenes are recreated by actors. The genius physicist is thus played by the Irish actor Aidan McArdle, seen in the series “The Fall” or “The Irregulars of Baker Street”, rather convincing in his role. But the inventor of the formula “E = mc2” also appears in real life, via multiple archives. Just like the protagonists of the time, including Hitler, on several occasions.

Because basically, the film is mainly interested in the period preceding the Second World War, when Einstein was forced, in 1933, to leave his native country, Germany, because he was Jewish. He then found refuge in Belgium – this is not said in the documentary – then in the United Kingdom. A stay of only a few weeks, about which little is known, but covered extensively here. We discover that the illustrious scientist is housed, to his great surprise, in an isolated cabin in the middle of the meadows, protected by two female bodyguards! In this docufiction, he uses his free time to reflect, in particular on the fate of German Jews, and the dictatorship established by the Nazis.

We only begin to talk about the bomb around the 50th minute, when the letter signed by Einstein (but of which he was not at the origin) and addressed to American President Roosevelt, warning him of the danger of the research carried out, is mentioned. by the Germans on a possible nuclear weapon. A document at the origin of the Manhattan Project (brilliantly told in the film “Oppenheimer”), in which Einstein did not participate, which is recalled by the film, interesting in absolute terms but still a little offbeat.

Editor’s note: “Einstein and the bomb”,

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Unpublished British docufiction by Anthony Philipson (2024), with Aidan McArdle… 1h16. Starting this Friday on Netflix.

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