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As the phone went dead, my heart almost stopped as I watched Harry's expression.
I have known of this obscure thriller for years, and it gets better every time I see it.
'Miracle Mile' is an apocalyptic classic. As many other user comments have indicated, the film portrays mass hysteria and panic due to an impending nuclear attack. At first only Harry (Anthony Edwards) knows about it, and then tells a handful of citizens with such urgency that they have no choice but to believe him. From there the word spreads gradually, and impending doom really sets in. The streets break out into riots, and people just go absolutely nuts. All this while, Harry and his girlfriend Julie and desperately trying to get to a helicopter platform so they can escape to the extreme north. Problem is, many others have that idea as well.
Sounds a bit far-fetched? Perhaps, but the film's anticipation never seems to let up. This is an extremely enjoyable film that makes you think of your own immediate values. I mean, what WOULD you do in that situation? Would you just sit and wait for it? or would you (attempt to) flee? After viewing this film, you ask yourself these questions.
A forgotten gem that deserves the full anamorphic DVD treatment. It's an 80's movie, so it's not without it's corny moments and the somewhat cheesy format. But these things don't really matter as the film portrays panic so perfectly. If such an event (god forbid) was to actually occur, I believe the chaos on the streets would look just like the film.
I've seen some very negative comments on the film, and everyone is entitled to an opinion. But what can I say? I consider this a classic of sorts.
I first saw this movie on video around the time it was produced. I
immediately liked it even though it was a bit bleak. But the late 80's
full of apocalyptic nuclear holocaust movies and this was the only one
stayed with me. Now, years later, I've just rewatched it (this time on
and I still think it's a very good -- but not great --
Admittedly, there's some over-the-top 80's haircuts and costumes, stuff that would be seriously 'retro' nowadays. And the acting, particularly in the beginning, is 'obvious' and a bit tiring. But when the hero receives that fateful phone call, it all changes. Suddenly, it's like watching a stage-performance of a play, a pressure-cooker where everyone suspects everyone else and no one knows what's really going on.
In fact, one of the best parts of the screenplay is that we, the audience, also don't really know what to believe (until the very end). We watch the hero struggle with what to tell people who's help he needs: if he tells them the awful truth, they may not believe/help him; if he tells them a more believable lie, is he denying them the chance to survive or at least to die with their loved ones. Either way, both he and the people he meets turn to progressively more and more extreme behavior -- people die! . . . and what if it all turns-out to have been a hoax?
In all, I think this movie ranks as a great sci-fi film, and in the truest sense of the genre: What If. It's not about aliens or galactic empires or anything else that's more fantasy than reality. Instead, it's a situation that any of us could easily imagine and I think this is why it stayed with me all these years, why it now forms a part of the framework for my imagination whenever I find myself catastrophizing about terrorism or natural disaster, anything that could separate me from the ones I love. What would I do?
Miracle Mile is one of my favourite films -I know it has its rough
edges but I fell in love the first time I saw it at the University of
Portsmouth film society ten years ago. I can't quite understand why
It belongs to the genre of suspense films called real-time thrillers -Hitchcock's Rope and Nick of Time are other examples. These are films which explore the very nature of film as a time-based medium. Usually the device is used in suspense movies, but has become popular recently in art house cinema like Timecode and Russian Ark.
The set-up is simple -after a day when he has fallen in love at first sight, Harry Washello randomly answers a ringing phone at a phone booth. The call is a wrong number from a soldier stationed at a nuclear silo. He is trying to warn his father that a nuclear strike has been launched and the US will be face a retaliatory attack in eighty minutes time. From then on, the action is played out in real time.
Unlike the aforementioned examples and the execrable 24, the real time actually works in Miracle Mile. If you sit through it with a stop watch, it only ever drifts out by a few seconds. The real time is essential to holding suspense and sympathy with the characters. Was the phone call for real? We don't know until an unforgettable moment, when the film becomes a race for survival.
There are some great, truly profound images -such as the dying Wilson scrambling up the down escalator with the body of his sister, or Harry and Julie lost in a department store surrounded by ticking clocks. This attention to detail and the bizarrely dark tone of the film elevate it to cult status. It has a soul and an individuality all of its own -can you imagine an episode of 24 ever being scored by Tangerine Dream?
This is a film about chance -the chance of Harry falling in love that day, the chance of him picking up the phone. The chance that effects us all and how we are at the mercy of it. But ultimately it is a very dark love story and perhaps that's why I like it so very much.
I didn't hold high hopes for 'Miracle Mile'. Directed by Steve De Jarnatt who made the cheesy but fun 'Cherry 2000', and starring two actors (Anthony Edwards and Mare Winningham) that I feel at best indifferent about, it starts off almost like a John Hughes romantic comedy, and your finger might begin to hover off the "off" button. But if you persevere it quickly becomes an utterly compelling thriller. It requires a certain amount of suspension of disbelief to accept the premise of the movie, but once the story kicks in you really get sucked into it! Edwards is actually very good in the lead role, and the film is full of all kinds of familiar faces and character actors like Mykelti Williamson ('Truth Or Consequences, NM'), Denise Crosby ('Star Trek TNG'), Robert DoQui ('RoboCop'), even b-grade SF legend John Agar ('The Brain From Planet Arous'), and 'Reservoir Dogs' Mr. Blue Edward Bunker! This movie really seems to split people down the middle. Some hate it, some love it. I'm in the latter camp. Highly recommended!
The thing that makes this movie particularly effective is that it feels
just like a dream. I've had nuclear holocaust dreams all my life, and
when I watched this movie I felt like I was dreaming. I really
connected emotionally with the main character. He's a nerd who has
suddenly met the girl of his dreams, a nerdy, cute girl with glasses
and a sweet demeanor, and at that precise moment the world appears as
if it is going to come to an end! And he's not going to get a chance to
even kiss her before the world goes poof! hey, it's bad enough to die,
but to die with an unfulfilled love is truly nightmarish!
The movie is not exactly illogical, but follows a sort of dream logic, where things just get worse and worse, relentlessly, and the harder you try to run away, the slower you move. The ending is devastating, horrifying and heart warming all at the same time.
After seeing this movie for the first time I shivered for hours, and couldn't bring myself to watch it again for 12 years! Its not that I didn't like it, I just knew that if I saw it again I would lose that special thrilling fear that it instilled in me. But it was so powerful that when i did see it 12 years later I remembered every plot, every character and event. On one viewing it imprinted itself on my brain, which movies hardly ever do.
See it! And see it late at night in a dark room!
You're definitely interested in this movie if you've got this far on the IMDB...
If you're, like me, a child of the 80's (teenager in the 80's) who saw this movie in the cinema's with that great soundtrack from "Tangerin Dream" in it(in the middle of the cold war),than you really are going to like this movie... I was able to track down this movie on PAL VHS-Tape on Ebay(you can buy it on DVD now,zone 1 only) and saw it last night on my own again. Ok,I'll have to admit that it's dated now (look at the clothes...)but that same sad feeling that creeps slowly into your head while watching this movie is still there! I really hope with the whole of my heart that we never,and I say NEVER,have to witness the day that our chosen leaders make the same stupid mistake of launching a nuclear attack on a country like they do in this movie... This is not your typical big budget,special effects loaded action-vehicle about a full-on nuclear strike but a modest little movie about what happens to a small bunch of people that finds out by accident that their country (USA) has launched a nuclear attack against another unspecified country and are getting back what they've started....
If you have your heart at the right place,then this movie grabs you by the throat and won't let go...
On the other handiIf you ONLY like comedy's and big budget action movies(which I also like very much)then you're probably going to despise this one...
Go now and find this little gem of a movie,I know you want to...
This is actually my favourite American movie ever, and also my
favourite thriller ever. I've seen it three times, and I've been blown
away on each occasion. Some elements may be compared to Terry Gilliam's
Twelve Monkeys, but I find Miracle Mile superior to it.
The plot is incredibly good, with much more depth than I thought after seeing it the first time - at that time I mistakenly thought it was a little flawed. The use of colours is also noteworthy.
While the movie is extraordinarily captivating overall, I think a few scenes in the beginning have a somewhat cheesy 80s feeling to them, but they're still strangely hypnotic.
One might also wish that some of the acting were a little better. Nevertheless, I see now that Anthony Edwards makes an absolutely outstanding acting performance in the lead role. The Tangerine Dream soundtrack is also excellent. By all means, don't let the movie's quite apparent weaknesses deceive you into thinking that this is just another second-rate, one-dimensional thriller.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
"Miracle Mile" is a strange movie. It begins as a love story, abruptly
switches to suspense (the phone call), swerves into unintentional
comedy(the cafe scenes), and suddenly shocks with the flaming deaths of
two police officers. I couldn't decide whether it was a
"tongue-in-cheek" comedy or a serious drama until the police officers
died. The continuing over-the-top acting pointed toward a comedy, but
characters continued to die. It wasn't until the department store scene
that I realized the movie was dead serious, and I was overcome with
I had assumed the original phone call was a hoax, perhaps a scene acted from a movie played over the phone, and a peaceful resolution would end the move.
With the flaming gas station scene, I was confused - how could this movie end without Edward's character dying for indirectly causing deaths.
Either the director was incompetently unfolding the plot, or he was deliberately keeping the audience off balance, to emphasize the air of unreality a real nuclear attack would bring.
This movie "worked" because of it's uneveness, suddenly throwing me from my expectation of a comedy, to anxiously awaiting a satisfactory plot resolution, then being sent to a shocking realization the nuclear war was "real".
I'm a big fan of post-apocalyptic movies; for some reason, the thought of
civilization as we know it grinding to a halt on a backdrop of nuclear
falling intrigues me to no end.
There are a host of movies that deal with Life After The Bomb, a whole lot more dealing with Life While Preventing The Bomb, but not very many that deal with Life Immediately Before The Bomb. This is one of the latter, and I think it pulls it off really well.
This offbeat movie chronicles a few hours in the life of a character who has just found out that the missiles are on the way.
This movie is rather offbeat; the acting is not bad, but just unlike normal hollywood acting, even despite a few familiar faces. The pacing is different, the sets are different, the colors are different. And in this case, the differences give it an edge that is quite intriguing.
The main character (tom cruise's ill-fated co-pilot in top gun) displays such an acute, personal anxiety that really grabbed my attention and really made the movie hit home.
While some of the other acting is less than stellar, in a movie like this it does not detract.
This movie really did make me think about what I would do in a similar situation. Very thought-provoking.
If you are as intriguied by nuclear war as I am, you should definitely watch this film.
8 / 10
A story that begins like a romantic comedy and goes somewhere else. A
disjointed plot, producing emotional confusion in those simple souls who
to the movies to have a piece of candy handed to them. It took courage to
this, and the result is an artistic success of the highest calibre.
The box-office story was probably not so good, but shame on those critics who helped send this movie to oblivion. Someday the Internet or something is going to bring back those few movies that stirred our emotions instead of putting them to sleep. There is no personified villain here. Time is the enemy, and The Bomb. How does it make you feel to be tricked? Maybe you deserve it. After all those countless, harmless, villains who've walked across your screen to fall like rags, here's a movie to shake you up instead. Oh never mind, just go back to sleep.
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