In the post-Cold War world, nuclear terrorism still looms as a major threat. The Peacemaker, the first film release of the new studio DreamWorks, explores this theme with high-speed zest and momentum. A rogue Russian general hijacks nine nuclear weapons (designated for dismantling as part of an international disarmament program) from a train and sets the detonator on one of them. He soon is being tracked by global satellites and electronic surveillance systems marshalled by Dr. Julia Kelly (Nicole Kidman), head of the White House Nuclear Smuggling Group, and U.S. Army Special Forces Lt. Col. Thomas Devoe (George Clooney). Her disdain for brutality is matched by his ruthless pragmatism; together, they are yin and yang heroism in action.

In her debut as a feature film director, Mimi Leder does a fine job orchestrating all the dramatic elements in this globe-trotting thriller. The screenplay by Michael Schiffer correctly posits that the greatest threats to world peace are gung ho nationalists and deranged survivors of ethnic warfare. In the most dramatic segment of the film, a Bosnian Serb who gets his hands on one of the nuclear warheads is determined to bring to America the same terror and random violence which obliterated his family. The Peacemaker is a rousing thriller about nuclear terrorism.