Sunday 10 November 2013

Film Review - The Day After

The Day After is one of those films that I'd always meant to get round to watching and never did, after re-watching Threads recently I decided to make a new effort to get hold of it. I'm glad I did, this is a very similar film to Threads (although it predates it by a few months) as it covers the same basic events but told from an American rather than British perspective.

The film was made in the mid-eighties when the possibility of an all out nuclear war was still a common fear, it follows a more traditional narrative approach compared to Thread's documentary style. Its made for TV roots shows in the production, but don't let that put you off as it is an excellent, if grim film.

It takes a while to get going, the build up is slow as you're introduced to the various characters (although they are all based in same region of the US). Besides the setting this is the main difference between the two films, Threads focused on one central character where here the cast is much larger (and there's quite a few known faces making it a fun who's who spotting exercise).

Once the action gets going the change is stark, it's not quite as bleak as Threads but it is still a grim sequence of events. The actual nuclear attack is quite well done in a low budget way, but still effective. Only the immediate aftermath of the attack is shown (where Threads stretches further into the future), there is a comment at the end stating that the film probably understimates the impact of an all-out attack, which does drive the point home.

For its time this was a very shocking film and while we have different fears these days it still illustrates the potential we have as a species to damage ourselves. It shows its age, but this is stilla fine, if grim film to watch.
United Kingdom released, PAL/Region 0 DVD: LANGUAGES: English ( Dolby Digital Stereo ), SPECIAL FEATURES: Interactive Menu, Scene Access, SYNOPSIS: It is the mid-1980s. An aggressive Soviet leadership orders troops marched to the border of West Berlin, and then decides to invade West Germany with multiple armored tank & troop divisions. In Lawrence, Kansas - on the border with Missouri - a family is preparing for the wedding of their eldest daughter, and Dr. Oakes is keeping busy in his role as chief of surgery in the small University Hospital at Lawrence. These people go on with their daily lives but are drawn closer to the possibility of a nuclear war, as the Russians use a nuclear ballistic missile against a West German city, and then attack a U.S. warship in the Persian Gulf. The Americans strike back by hitting a Soviet ship, and then the Russians hit NATO regional headquarters with a nuclear warhead! People start creating makeshift fallout shelters in their basements, but many are caught off guard when, one at a time, nuclear missiles are launched from their silos along the Kansas - Missouri border. USAF officers then announce that 300+ ICBMs are inbound to the U.S., and two of them strike Kansas City, Missouri! Many are killed outright, but still more must face the danger of radioactive fallout. Now, the characters we follow are living in a barren, devastated world - devoid of electricity, safe drinking water, and food - and filled with radioactivity, starvation, and disease... in the horrific aftermath of 'The Day After'... SCREENED/AWARDED AT: Emmy Awards, ...The Day After

The Day After is available from Amazon (and is a good watch)

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