Review: Threads (1984, Mick Jackson)

"Threads", "The Day After", "The War Game"- these movies weren't some remote idea, or (just) a business decision. The Cold War had been on for decades, Russia and the USA had been racing to space, and competing for the biggest bomb ever, there was the Cuba crisis, SDI was a thing, Gorbachov, perestroika, and glasnost hadn't happened yet. Berlin was an island inside Russian territory. When "The Day After" was about to be shown in Germany some boulevard papers made it a frontpage headline. Chernobyl happened in 1986, and made people around the world remember the words Strontium, Caesium and Cadmium to their last day. That was the reality of the time. 

"Threads" is an educational movie, and it's made for exactly this purpose. In contrast to most other nuclear disaster movies, "Threads" puts its emphasis less on the short-term impact, but more on the personal catastrophe affecting every single one in the long term. Choosing a near-documentary style to do so, it quite soberly depicts the harrowing effects on human life as we know it. It could be me, you, anyone, it hits everywhere, and it will be passed on.

"Threads" is potentially the saddest and scariest film ever made. It's a British film, which means you'll be spared little. It goes a tad further and deeper than you might expect even from a film of that kind. "The Day After" ultimately tells a story, "The War Game" is a news report, "When The Wind Blows" speaks of love - "Threads" is most of all just brutally honest, as it puts pretty much nothing between you and the bitter, unrelenting truth. 

Overall, it's a very well made, extremely effective movie. The writing is intelligent and adequate to the subject matter, the editing and camera work is outstanding, the visuals range from accurate to genuinely shocking - it creates a scarily realistic picture of the unthinkable, and, much more than other such movies, its aftermath.

It is certainly no coincidence that around the time of "Threads" and "The Day After" worldwide anti-nuclear-weaponry demonstrations became massive (attendance up to 1 million), and nuclear disarmament started happening. People were really scared. The threat was all too real, and the insanity became undeniable.

Verdict: Watching "Threads" makes you a better human being. 10/10

Threads (1984)
Directed by Mick Jackson

Trailer video:


The War Game (1966)

World War III (1982) (NBC miniseries)

Testament (1983)

The Day After (1983)

On the 8th Day (1984)

Countdown To Looking Glass (1984)

When The Wind Blows (1986)

The Miracle Mile (1988)

Der Dritte Weltkrieg (1998)

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