Too important to ignore, too powerful to dismiss.
Although this film clocks in at a mere 48 minutes, not a scene, second or frame is put to waste. A level-headed and all too analytical examination of civil preparedness versus the yield of nuclear weapons. What this film presents is the absolute horror of nuclear war in simulated newsreel footage so realistic, you may feel the pain of those on screen. Fire-storms, asphyxiation, flash-burns, over-burdened hospitals leaving victims to die in pain, street executions under martial law, total social collapse, all filmed in a typical English suburb. Originally planned to be a simple documentary on nuclear warfare made for BBC-TV, the film was banned from television (officially because of it's graphic depictions of suffering, but most likely for it's anti-authoritarian stance and defiance of the official line). Later released to theaters, it went on to win major film awards. Two scenes in particular, one of men being executed for violating water rationing and an interview with children at a medical camp, haunted me for days. This is the great-grandfather of such films as "Threads" and "The Day After", but the matter-of-fact narration in BBC English to the devastation on screen adds an element of sheer horror that no other film comes close to. If anyone you know talks about the survivability of nuclear attack, show them this film, and watch their reaction. This film is too important to ignore, and too powerful to dismiss.
- Sep 7, 1999
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