Ground Zero is an incredibly suspenseful story set in contemporary Australia. Government hearings are in progress to determine whether compensation is due victims of the long-term effects of A-bomb radiation fallout resulting from British tests in the outback in the early 1950's.
Harvey Denton, played by Colin Friels, is a basically apolitical commercial cameraman who is drawn into these proceedings when he learns that his father, an army photographer, compiled visual evidence of military maleficence in the tests; he sets out to find the missing films. Jack Thompson, as an agent of the Australian Security and Intelligence Organization, puts pressure on him not to get involved. But an eccentric scientist, played by Donald Pleasance, who lives in the outback and knew his father, spurs Denton. He implies that the irresponsible handling of the A-bomb tests victimized thousands of veterans, aborigines, and their families.
Co-written by Mac Gudgeon and Jan Sardi and co-directed by Michael Pattinson and Bruce Myles, Ground Zero is a noteworthy addition to the growing number of excellent films about the beginning of the nuclear age. This thriller is dramatically gripping in its exploration of military and political wrongdoing. In addition, Ground Zero puts in graphic contrast the aboriginal respect for the environment and the white race's disdain for it as just another object to be dominated.