Documentary review: Particle Fever

Particle Fever delivers a front-row seat to this generation’s most significant/inspiring scientific breakthrough as it happened. No, not the invention of Snapchat, but rather the launch of the Large Hadron Collider.

In case you’re not up on your science/news, the Large Hadron Collider brought together 10,000 scientists from over 100 countries to recreate the conditions in the immediate moments following the Big Bang and to find the Higgs boson, potentially explaining the origin of all matter.

The film follows six brilliant scientists in the build-up to the biggest and most expensive experiment in the history of the planet, and is utterly engaging throughout. The scientists in question are great. They offer just the right amount of charisma and nerdiness, and the rivalry between the two types of physicist – the theorists and the experimentalists – is a nice aside as they all panic about whether the findings of the LHC will mean that humans have reached the limit in coming to understand why we exist.

As with many great documentaries, Particle Fever is paced beautifully to offer a strong narrative, while its protagonists have engaging personalities, meaning we really care about the epic experiment they are undertaking.

While you’ll certainly learn a lot about science and physics from this 97-minute docco, ultimately, this isn’t actually a film about science and physics at all. Rather it is about passion, devotion, hard-work and unfaltering belief. It is a wonderful, life-affirming story and certainly one of the best documentaries you will see this year.

Particle Fever is in selected cinemas on November 27.

bobby townsend


Review by Bobby Townsend