Made-for-tv film (1984). BBC-TV. Directed by Mick Jackson. Written by Barry Hines. Cast includes David Brierly, June Broughton, Reece Dinsdale, Karen Meagher, Henry Moxon and Sylvia Stoker. 115 minutes. Colour.
This BBC production, at once a UK equivalent of The Day After (1983) and an attempt to update the harrowing vision of Peter Watkins's The War Game (1965), is an impressive and persuasive account of a near-future World War Three nuclear attack on the UK, focusing on the fate of Sheffield. Ordinary people are seen ignoring the escalating international crisis as they deal with their own problems – the heroine (Meagher) is a pregnant young girl unsure whether or not to marry – and are then shattered completely by the coming of war. The civil-defence forces cannot deal with the extent of the calamity, and traffic wardens are drafted to supervise summary executions of looters. The film mimics The War Game's documentary approach as it trots out disturbing statistics. Finally, it flashes forward a few years to show a medievalized Post-Holocaust UK, brutal and tribalized, bringing this resolutely non-sf treatment of an sf theme surprisingly close to the surreal horrors of Le Dernier Combat (1983). [KN]
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