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12/08/05: Review: “The Day After” and “Threads”
12/08/05: Review: “The Day After” and “Threads”

To "commemorate" the Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombs I decided to dig out and watch a couple of DVDs about the effects of Nuclear weapons.

ABC's "The Day After" 1983
BBC's "Threads" 1984

The story and content of both are pretty much the same but their execution is very different.

The Day After is probably the best known of the two and is a story about the effect of World War 3 on a community in and around Kansas city USA.

There's the usual character introductions and in the background the build up to war which is pretty much ignored until just before the event.

A whole heap of missiles are launched from the area then a short while later a series of bombs go off flattening the city the story is then of what happens to the survivors in the aftermath, the injured, the radiation effects, the beginning of the re-building of society.

It leaves you with the impression that society will be rebuilt and it'll all be better in the end.

I felt the direction was rather pedestrian, especially the beginning which was quite slow. The director has done much better work though, most notably some of the Star Trek films.


Threads is probably the result of someone at the BBC watching The Day After and thinking "that was a pile of ****, lets do it properly".

The story is pretty similar to The Day After but based in Sheffield, England. The subject is handled in a completely different way, the build up is in the background to the characters but the director makes sure you know exactly what's going on.

One major difference is this is more of a "docu-drama", there are short pieces of strategically places narration and text to tell you what is actually going on, of course this is done in such a ways so to add to the drama.

When the bomb goes off you see the full effects of both them and the aftermath. Threads is a gritty realistic British film and it gives you the full works, The Day After glossed over a lot of the real horrors.

Threads goes on for years after the bomb, and shows the effect of the Nuclear Winter and increased ultraviolet radiation, none of this is even touched by The day After.

Threads leaves you the impression that the best place to be when the bomb goes off is directly underneath it. Society will be rebuilt but it's going to be one hell of a struggle and take a very, very long time.

I've watched "The World at War", a long detailed series on WW 2 which shows how horrific it was. That and it’s long list of scientific advisors leads me to think Threads' much more horrific portrayal of the events is considerably more more realistic than The Day After.

As such Threads is quite possibly the scariest film ever made.

Note: If you are looking for the Threads DVD try Amazon.

Listening to: Catatonia: International Velvet
2006-10-08 14:10:14 GMT