Reviewed bypreppy-3Vote: 9/10
The effects of a nuclear bomb exploding near London and how if affects a woman and her unborn child. It shows them before the blast and 20 years after.
This wasn't the first movie I ever saw about nuclear holocaust. In 1983 US TV ran "The Day After" showing what might possibly happen if there were a nuclear holocaust. The movie disturbed and depressed me for days...but I forgot it pretty quickly. Years later I rented this from a video store...and was absolutely horrified. It's been 15 years (easily) since I've seen this and it has never left me.
"Day After" was (for American TV) pretty graphic but not that bad. "Threads" however held nothing back. You see people incinerated, maimed or dying from radiation poisoning. A woman has to deliver her own baby by biting her own umbilical cord. A man sells dead rats for food. It goes on and on. It also shows how it would affect the environment--totally demolishing the ozone layer and killing people (slowly) with ultra violet radiation. It doesn't flinch from anything and is EXTREMELY disturbing. The ending offers no hope. I'll probably never see it again because it was so horrifying but I think everyone should see this at least once.
My one complaint--it's a bit too long. Still--highly recommended. Just brace yourself.
Reviewed byaequus314Vote: 9/10
Mick Jackson's BBC docu-drama opens with one implicit warning:
"In an urban society, everything connects. Each person's needs are fed by the skills of many others.
Our lives are woven together in a fabric, but the connections that make society strong also make it vulnerable."
His warning concludes with a fragile strand of spider silk and fades into a fully woven, menacing orb of spider web.
I saw this post-nuclear apocalypse film on the force of Guardian's recommendation for scariest horror films. But I don't consider it the scariest horror I've seen for two reasons: Threads is not really horror by formalistic standards as it can't be qualified by the usual sub-genres (slasher, supernatural, psychological to name a few). Second, it didn't induce a sense of mounting dread (so keenly attempted by most horror movies) in all 112 minutes of running time.
Yet it gave me a nightmare the same night I was done watching.
So what's the big deal? There are tonnes of shows (about wars, nuclear disasters, end-of-the-world) trying to frighten us with gruesome make-up and special effects anyway: Pearl Harbor, The Hills Have Eyes, Children of Men? Well it is here that the film's choice of fictional news footage and anti-aesthetic photography by Andrew Dunn and Paul Morris deserve mention. Amplified by the context of nuclear radiation in a densely populated urban centre, human disfigurement occurring in the thick of those post-disaster scenes were absolutely disturbing to witness.
I haven't seen imageries this persistent and lasting since defective humans and severed limbs in movies by Jodorowsky. The video's grainy resolution — likely the result of analogue format on Super VHS back in the 1980s — adds to the tone of cinéma vérité very well. Overall effect is creepy like a scratchy washed-out video in Hideo Nakata's Ringu, combined with the haunting cruelty in war photos captured by James Natchwey.
Screenwriter Barry Hines hypothesizes the fate of people living in Sheffield when the Soviet Union detonates a warhead above the North Sea. I will not delve into details with a blow-by-blow account of the fictional brinkmanship in Threads, but essentially, a failed US- led coup in Iran escalates into armed confrontation with the Soviet Union. This crisis culminates in nuclear attacks on NATO bases throughout the region, with the city of Sheffield being one of several targets.
Three narrative viewpoints drive the film: documentary aspects are narrated by an omniscient man whom earlier, had warned us of the vulnerability in a system held by connections that interlock too closely. He explains in chronological sequence: how early days of the crisis lead to the melt down of society's economic, social, medical and environmental conditions. And finally, the ultimate collapse of humanity itself. Dramatic arcs are painted through the story of young lovers, Ruth Beckett and Jimmy Kemps. An unplanned pregnancy introduces their respective families (the Becketts and the Kemps) in the mix, effectively setting up these ordinary characters as victims who will suffer for generations to come, acutely and chronically, the full blown effects of this event when nuclear radiation rises and peaks after 3000 megatons of TNT. Another viewpoint follows a small group of council members in Sheffield's Emergency Operations Team.
All three units engineer in full force; a scientifically eloquent, nightmarish and realistic narrative of total devastation caused by a nuclear holocaust.
Threads may be a faux-documentary but still, it makes for a terrifying watch. Miles ahead of fly-by-night Hollywood disaster flicks, this is a deeply intense social realist drama anchored in credible visual tone and political language. Don't let the fact that it was made back in 1984 fool you into thinking otherwise. Not for the squirmish or faint-hearted.
Reviewed byairodysseyVote: 7/10
I think it would be useless to repeat all that the other users have said about "Threads" since I cannot do better but agree with everything. This has to be THE most graphic representation of nuclear war. And I used to think "The Day After" was disturbing.
I was able to cope to the whole movie, but let's say it wasn't easy at all. I can still hear in my head the yells of the panicked citizens as the mushroom cloud rises in the distance when it hits Crewe... or see the bottles of milk... or the corpse (which bears a striking resemblance with E.T.!) burning in the firestorm... or see survivors keeping as gold what is taken nowadays as granted: supermarket plastic bags... and what they put inside is simply disgusting.
When I found out my local video store had a copy of this film, I rushed to get it, as I was impatient to see this movie I have heard so much about. The impatience to see the movie was rewarded by nothing more than a really bad aftertaste of radioactive fallout.
I liked the movie not for the quality of the actors, but for the overall realistic representation of the holocaust and for the great job done with a small budget. I give a thumbs up to that.
Documentary style account of a nuclear holocaust and its effect on the working class city of Sheffield, England; and the eventual long running effects of nuclear war on civilization.