film, Movie Crash Course Review, movies

Alphaville (1965)

So I had to watch this film twice to figure out what in the chicken-fried Judas was going on. I’m still not entirely sure.

I know I’m fond of describing films with humorous mashups, but this Jean-Luc Godard film really is a mashup of sci-fi, French New Wave and film noir. Eddie Constantine is “Lemmy Caution”, a private investigator sent on a case in the city of “Alphaville”. Alphaville is ostensibly governed by the scientist Professor von Braun (Howard Vernon); but in truth, it’s under the control of von Braun’s creation, a vast computer/AI network named “Alpha 60”. Free thought, emotion, and poetry are forbidden, under penalty of death. Caution is meant to first locate Henri Dickson (Akim Tamiroff), another agent on a similar mission who’s gone AWOL, and then to arrest von Braun and destroy Alpha 60.

Sounds like a simple plot, yeah? But that’s the bit it took me two screenings to understand.

Godard depicts everything in Alphaville as just plain odd, with people speaking in repeated non-sequiturs (the phrase “I’m fine, don’t mention it” seems to replace “goodbye” for reasons which are never explained). Criminals are executed during synchronized swimming performances at the public swimming pool. Some of Von Braun’s henchmen try to capture Caution at one point, and they incapacitate him by….holding him at gunpoint and ordering Von Braun’s daughter Natascha (Anna Karina) to tell Caution a shaggy dog story akin to The Duck Song so they could grab him when he laughed at the punch line. Early on, there’s a bit where Caution accompanies Natascha to a lecture on math and allegory given by Alpha 60, but he leaves early to go wait in the lobby – and I laughed when he later told Natascha “I left because I couldn’t understand what they were talking about”, since I felt exactly the same way.

It’s all clearly meant to mean something; “Alpha 60” is constantly making heady-sounding pronouncements (many of them quotes from the poet Jorge Luis Borges), Caution frequently muses how “dead” many of Alphaville’s citizens look, and all of the “criminals” in the execution scene have been guilty of displaying some kind of emotion. Godard uses film noir tropes a lot – but felt like a sort of cargo-cult use, invoking them just for the sake of doing so (Caution is even reading from a copy of The Big Sleep in one scene). Caution soon makes Natascha a third mission for himself, proclaiming he is in love with her and urging her to break free of Alpha 60’s control and try to feel something. There’s a lengthy sequence in which Natascha stares into the camera as Caution circles her, stroking her face or caressing her hair, periodically stopping to stare into the camera himself so she can return the favor and….make gestures around him; and throughout Caution has a monologue in a voiceover opining about….love and freedom, I think? Or something.

But…honestly, I felt somewhat like this was that Star Trek Next Generation episode where the crew meets a member of a people who speak entirely in allegory and cultural references. If you’re privvy to the references in question, this can work – but if you’re out of the loop, you haven’t a clue what’s happening. I felt like Godard was assuming I would understand all the references he was making – the character “Lemmy Caution” is heralded as if I’d know who that was, in particular – but I was very much out of the loop, so it was thoroughly baffling.

film, Movie Crash Course Review, movies

The Battle Of Algiers (1965)

This film was first and foremost made for a European – and predominantly French – audience, who would all have been very familiar with the events depicted in the film. So it’s a bit miraculous that not only did I understand the story, but that it was handled as fairly as it was.

The Algerian War for independence from France was more of a guerilla action at the beginning, with the group Front de libération nationale, or FLN, leading the action. Their campaign in the city of Algiers in 1956 and ’57 amped up the hostilities, calling international attention to the war and bringing the French a good deal of criticism, both at home and abroad, for how it handled the crisis. Filmmakers Franco Solinas and Gillo Pontecorvo focus the film on the FLN’s actions, particularly on one of its leaders Ali La Pointe (Brahim Haggiag, a non-actor like much of the cast). La Pointe began as a petty criminal but joined the FLN while in prison, quickly rising up the ranks and helping to secure the Casbah section of Algiers for FLN control, spurring France to send in a platoon of paratroopers lead by Colonel Philippe Mathieu (Jean Martin) to suppress them.

A part of me wished there were more scenes of the everyday Algerians trying to cope with the chaos, but on the other hand, that might have felt a little too much like a docu-drama, and those can often feel too exaggerated. One exception concerns the under-the-table marriage of a young Algerian couple – the leader of the FLN presides, stating that they are on purpose excluding French government involvement from the proceedings. Otherwise, Pontecorvo takes a page from the Italian Neo-Realist movement for this – using non-actors, and a sort of television-news-piece approach to give things the feel of a documentary.

The film makes no bones about the fact that both the French and the FLN fought dirty. One lengthy sequence concerns three FLN women smuggling bombs into French-controlled Algiers and then leaving them in bars or cafes to ensure civilian casualties. But another depicts the torture French soldiers used on captured FLN members in an effort to track down and capture its leaders.

Now – I may not have grown up knowing about the Algerian War, but I’ve heard of the lengths that the CIA went to when tracking down Osama Bin Laden, and so I was probably most affected by the torture scenes, which pitched my sympathies to the FLN. But we’d also just seen the FLN committing terrorist actions, and I’ve had some familiarity with that as well (I have lived in New York City since 1988, let’s just say that). Still, it comes as no surprise to me to learn that the Pentagon screened it for a small audience of officers as a sort of cautionary tale about mis-steps to avoid in the upcoming war in Iraq. (I can only assume that they weren’t really paying attention.) But that’s just one of a long line of such “cautionary screenings”, warning people about what might happen in Vietnam…or El Salvador…or Nicaragua…or…Ultimately, the film celebrates Algeria’s ultimate victory in 1962, but I was satisfied to see it being honest about the cost.

Best Pictures of 2023, Extra Credit, Oscar Extra Credit

Best Picture Oscar Extra Credit – Part 3

Once again it looks like the pairs of films I review in each of these Oscar posts have some kind of theme; for this one, it looks like gender politics carries the day.


Lydia Tár, when we meet her, is at the top of her game – she’s a pre-eminent composer and conductor, first female director of the Berlin Philharmonic, and founder of a scholarship meant to support other women entering her field. She discusses all of this in the first scene, a lengthy interview with the editor of The New Yorker; she also plugs her upcoming book, and her impending recording of what will likely be her masterpiece – conducting the Berlin Philharmonic in a performance of Mahler’s 5th Symphony. She’s erudite, assertive, and confident. However, over the course of the film we start to see the warts behind that carefully-constructed image – and watch as they lead to a considerable downfall.

A couple of Tár’s mis-steps concern her relationships with two of her assistants – both other women, and one of which, it is implied, is romantically obsessed with Tár. At least that’s what the rumors are, although the romantic angle is more subtextual – most of the assistant Krista’s communications with her are begging for a position as a junior conductor. But Tár has refused, instructing her current assistant Francesca to delete and ignore all contact from Krista. Francesca is also refused a similar position despite exemplary service as Tár’s assistant, and starts to question Tár’s judgement herself – especially when a new cellist in the Berlin Philharmonic catches Tár’s eye and is awarded the honor of performing a cello solo during the upcoming concert. Tár’s wife Sharon, a violinist with the Philharmonic, notices as well, leading to conflict at home, just as the rumors about Tár’s conduct really start to swirl.

Many reviews categorize this as a condemnation of “cancel culture”, and how Tár is unfairly treated for her actions; others see this as a cautionary sort of “Me Too” tale. I’m not sure I agree with either perspective – for me, it was more a case of Tár’s ego and hubris finally tripping her up. Her whole persona is very tightly controlled and carefully constructed, to the point that the slightest mis-step brings the whole thing down. She’s simply too over-confident in her own perspective and doesn’t have the slightest idea how she may be coming across to others. Early on, there is a terrifically uncomfortable scene where she’s giving a Master Class at Julliard and one of the students dismisses Bach has “just another white male cisgender composer” and states that he prefers to work with other composers. Tár’s takedown of this perspective – and of the student – is so pointed and specific, targeting some of the student’s obvious insecurities in addition to his opinion, that he storms out of the class. It’s obvious that Tár thinks she’s simply championing the idea that one should focus on the art and not the artist – and she’s not wrong about that – but she is completely unaware of the vitriol in her tone, and how the power of her position gives her words extra weight. She’s focused so much on keeping her own house of cards up that she can’t see what she’s doing to others around her.

And that’s why I think I ultimately was lukewarm on this. Tár is in every single scene in this film, and Cate Blanchett embodies so well that I actively disliked her at many points.

Women Talking

In contrast to the tale of a solitary unlikeable woman who isolates herself, we have the story of a group of women who come together and – just by talking – support each other as they try to make a gruelingly difficult decision.

Sarah Polley both directed and adapted this film from an existing book – and it is a masterwork in adaptation. The book itself (by Miriam Toews) was inspired by a true and terrible story – a series of rapes which took place at an isolated Mennonite colony in Bolivia. A group of men in the colony were drugging women (and girls) in their sleep and raping them; they would wake with bruises and blood on their thighs, but their complaints were dismissed for years until one of the men was finally caught in the act. The colony elders knew they were out of their depth and turned to the local authorities to handle the situation. In the book – and the film – the rapists were arrested, and the rest of the men travelled en masse to the jail – a two-days’ journey – to post their bail. As they left, they warned the women that they expected them to forgive the men when they returned. But – they were still leaving the women and children alone for two days, giving the women a chance to discuss whether they really would forgive the men, or whether they would do something else – and if so, what.

The victims’ discussion is the bulk of the movie. And – it is damn hard to write a screenplay in which nothing happens but “a bunch of people talking” without your work either being boring or polemic. (I speak from experience, and have the VHS of the anti-nuke movie a friend and I made in high school to prove it.) But Polley’s script is a masterwork in using the dialogue to introduce you to the characters’ various perspectives, pains, traumas, fears, hopes, conflicts, and strengths. We do see glimpses of the aftermath of different characters’ attacks – but only in flashes, and sometimes so subtly that we don’t realize what we saw until a couple minutes later, when they are saying something.

And each woman is given the space to have her own response and handle her trauma in her own way; one woman bitterly wants everyone to downplay the incidents, another suffers panic attacks. Still another is more fearful for her child than herself. Another woman is now pregnant. Another woman has chosen to live as a man instead. There’s one woman who’s downplaying her own attack so much that I didn’t even know she’d been attacked for half the movie; she’s an older woman who occasionally wrestles with uncomfortable dentures, and midway through the film there’s a moment which hints at a shocking reason why she has them in the first place. I haven’t read the original book, so I don’t know how faithful an adaptation it is – so I’m not sure whom to applaud for a story that allowed each of the characters their own space and experience, and depicted how group talk can lead to healing. I was especially impressed by how the story also addressed how the men were victims of a sort as well – trapped in a mindset that lead them to commit such acts in the first place. Not that they shouldn’t be accountable, the women hasten to add – but maybe they deserved pity instead of anger. ….And maybe from a distance.

There is one lone man in with the women – the colony’s schoolteacher, who’s been appointed to take minutes for the women (all of whom are illiterate). He tries to stay out of the discussion, but a time or two is asked his opinion. He’s also fond of one of the women, a childhood friend now pregnant from her rape. Much of the film seems to set him up as the “lone kind man” in the colony – but I couldn’t help thinking we were supposed to think he’d also had some sexual trauma in his own childhood. He has a brief monologue about the character of boys in their early teens, during which he argues they have an energy and vivacity and curiosity about life and sexuality that sometimes outstrips their compassion and thinking, but they can be taught more proper behavior. It’s very possible I’m reading something into this, but I got the sense that this character had been assaulted by a schoolmate as a child as well.

I also appreciated how religion itself wasn’t depicted as the Root Of Evil in the story. The women differentiate between God and their Faith, and the laws that flawed people made in God’s name. The flawed people were the problem, not God; and repeatedly, the women turn to their faith to console each other, singing hymns to help each other through a panic attack or using a parable to illustrate a point. Religion can be a very powerful and personal thing, and even though it may be foreign to us, it makes absolute sense that these women who have been kept isolated and illiterate by their religion would nevertheless turn to their religion for consolation and guidance.

This is honestly the first of this year’s films I’ve seen that comes close to dethroning Everything Everywhere All At Once in my head; however, I think it’s more deserving of a Best Adapted Screenplay Oscar.

film, Movie Crash Course Review, movies

Juliet Of The Spirits (1965)

I learned the term Felliniesque before I ever saw a Fellini film. That tripped me up a bit – because the term is based on Fellini’s later work, all magic-realist tableaux and surrealist symbolism, clowns and parades and people speaking in non sequiturs. So his earlier films, like La Strada and Nights of Cabiria, were somewhat unexpected; they’re the films that put Fellini on the map. This film feels more like the Fellini I was expecting.

I was equally surprised to find that…despite the wackadoo imagery, I kind of got it. Giulietta (Giulietta Masina) is a middle-aged housewife, frequently left alone by her husband Giorgio (Mario Pisu). Occasionally she babysits her twin nieces, or visits her much more exuberant mother or sister, or entertains friends; but most often, it’s just her and the maids at home, tending to the house and the garden. Then the vivacious Suzy (Sandro Milo) moves in next door, giving Giulietta tantalizing glimpses of what looks like an elaborately decadent lifestyle. Giulietta is intrigued, but shy – but as her fascination with Suzy grows, so does the realization that her husband is having an affair. So maybe Suzy is someone she should get to know – she may be a good influence.

It’s a bare-bones plot, because here, it’s the imagery and fantasy sequences that are carrying the day. Giulietta dreams about her grandfather – who ran off with a dancer when she was a child – imagining him hijacking a stunt plane at a circus, as dream/child Giulietta watches the dancers and acrobats. She has visions of the nuns from her school, flashing back to when she was cast as the lead in a pageant play about a virgin martyr. Her hippie-esque neighbor drags her to see a spiritual guru, who advises Giulietta to learn how to be more decadent as Giulietta imagines the various tantric statues surrounding his seat all coming to life.

Those sequences are more definitively “visions” for Giulietta, but even “reality” can get a bit eye-popping – particularly when Giulietta meets Suzy, who always seems dressed in diaphanous dresses with short hems and billowing scarves. Suzy’s cat strays into Giulietta’s yard one day, and when she goes to return the stray, a grateful Suzy invites her in for a tour – showing her around a lavishly decorated mansion, introducing her to the friends lolling about (“we’re playing bordello,” Suzy says in passing) and showing her how the master bedroom has a slide leading down to an in-ground pool so she can go for a swim immediately after having sex. And just outside is a treehouse, equally as lavishly fit out and complete with a basket on a motorized pulley so she can bring her paramours up for a romp.

Suzy’s house is so gloriously over-the-top it came across as fantastical even though it was “real”. And in fact, that’s what finally made me realize that as wackadoo as Fellini was, it all had a point – we were looking at Suzy’s house through Giulietta’s eyes, after all, and maybe what we were seeing wasn’t clinically accurate, but rather we were seeing it through her own emotional filter. Suzy’s guests are all half-naked and constantly leering at her, Giulietta’s friends are all vapid and ridiculous; the visions of the nuns keep coming back to scare Giulietta into staying in her place. What we’re seeing here is Giulietta’s inner life, not just “wacky stuff”. And when I realized that, the somewhat sparse final scene – with Giulietta simply taking a walk in the woods – suddenly felt much more poignant.

It’s almost like Fellini knew what he was doing, eh?

Best Pictures of 2023, Extra Credit, Oscar Extra Credit

Best Picture Oscar Extra Credit – Part 2

Right! Time for a bit of a palate cleanser after the last film.

The Banshees of Inisherin

If you’ve seen any of Martin McDonagh’s theater work, some parts of this will ring very familiar; it may even be a rewrite of one of his Aran Islands plays that he changed his mind about producing. It’s definitely got the same rural-Ireland focus, the same darkly comic perspective, and the same over-the-top levels of violence. (I once saw a production of McDonagh’s work The Lieutenant of Inishmore, where the ending sees the stage strewn with broken furniture, spilled milk, gallons of stage blood, black shoe polish, and two or three boxes’ worth of breakfast cereal and cat kibble. After the show as the audience was filing out, I walked to the lip of the stage where the stage manager was overseeing a huge cleanup crew and insisted on shaking his hand.)

So I wasn’t surprised by the tone of McDonagh’s voice…but I was a little surprised by what he was saying with it. The bookish musician Colm (Brendan Gleeson) and dairy farmer Pádraic (Colin Farrell) live on a fictional island off Ireland’s coast during the tail end of the Irish Civil War, and have been mates for years – until suddenly, and without warning, Colm tells Pádraic that he doesn’t want to be friends any more. This of course leaves Pádraic baffled, and hurt – and he starts a campaign to either win Colm back over, or at least find out what the hell he did to drive him away. But as Pádraic goes to more and more extreme lengths to get through to Colm, Colm also goes to equally extreme lengths to convince Pádraic to leave him alone.

I’ve had a couple of friendships end on me equally as unexpectedly (although, I handled it way better than Pádraic does), so I went into this thinking I would take his side. But when Colm finally gives Pádraic a bit of an explanation – a sort of life-overhaul and a rethinking of his priorities – I understood his side as well. He didn’t handle things all that well either, mind you – both men let their falling-out get much, much too carried away. But by the end Pádraic seems to finally accept the situation, turning down a suggestion that he and Colm could be friends again with the observation that “Some things there’s no moving on from, and I think that’s a good thing.”

It was a fine film, but somehow didn’t feel like a Best Picture film, if that makes sense. Do see it on the big screen if you can – as Roommate Russ observed, “it’s shot like an ad for Irish tourism.”

Triangle Of Sadness

Another black comedy….although for me, while this had scores of darkly ridiculous moments, it never really gelled into a complete story.

We start off meeting Carl (Harris Dickinson), a modestly successful male model in a lackluster relationship with “influencer” Yaya (Charlbi Dean). The pair frequently bicker about money and gender roles, but Carl is more turned off by Yaya’s superficiality – even though that’s what drives her career, such as it is. Still, it gets them tickets to a cruise on a luxury yacht, where they meet an oddball group of other passengers – a sweet English couple grown rich of arms dealing, a boorish Russian oligarch named Dimitry (Zlatko Burić) traveling with both his wife and his mistress, and Therese, a middle-aged stroke victim (Iris Berben) confined to a wheelchair and incapable of saying anything except the German phrase “in den Wolken”. We also meet some of the crew – the harried chief of staff Paula (Vicki Berlin), and the reluctant captain Thomas Smith (Woody Harrelson), a socialist who’s sold out and spends the majority of the voyage blind drunk in his cabin. After a thoroughly disastrous dinner – featuring both dodgy food and the outbreak of a heavy storm – most of the cast spends the night copiously vomiting in their cabins (fair warning) while Smith and Dimitry lock themselves in Smith’s cabin with an obscene amount of Scotch and debate economic theory over the loudspeakers.

And to add insult to injury, the ship sinks the following morning. Carl and Yaya both make it to a nearby island, as do Paula, Therese, Dimitry, a tech millionaire named Jarmo (Henrik Dorsin), an engineer (Jean-Christophe Folly) whom Dimitry is convinced sabotaged the ship, and Abigail (Dolly de Leon), a member of the cleaning staff who hitches a ride on a very well-stocked lifeboat. The savvy Abigail quickly realizes that she’s the only one who knows how to fish, start a fire, or build a shelter – and turns the tables on the wealthy folk who’d been bossing her around up to this point.

…Abigail was actually a good example of one of my complaints about this film. I appreciated how she was able to show up the others while on the island, but if there were a scene of someone on board the ship dressing her down for some ridiculous slight, I’d have appreciated that more. (There’s even a perfect candidate – an elderly woman who is somehow convinced that the motorized yacht they’re on has “sails” that “need washing”.) We spend an entire act of the film meeting a whole host of characters at great length, most of whom vanish from the film completely in the third act. Our “introduction” to Yaya is so desultory that I honestly thought she was a model herself until midfilm when Carl tells Paula that she’s an influencer. Granted, all of the characters have such finely-drawn quirks that I could still follow what was going on, and some of the satire is deliciously sharp; but I still feel screenwriter Ruben Östlund could have spent a bit more time introducing characters better and tying things together into a more cohesive and consistent plot.

Still, this did let me give one of the more unique sum-ups about a film I’ve ever said: I told Roommate Russ that “it was like a cross between Parasite and Gilligan’s Island”.

film, Movie Crash Course Review, movies

The War Game (1965)

When I reviewed Dr. Strangelove, I mentioned that I’d been traumatized as a child by some TV docudramas that depicted “what a nuclear war would actually be like”. The best-known among them is probably The Day After, an American film; but that film pulled its punches a bit to placate some nervous network executives, and a prim title card at the end of the film stated that the actual outcome of a nuclear war would be much, much worse. The two British films I saw had no such self-censor – When The Wind Blows and Threads, both of which are the absolute bleakest films I have ever seen in my life and I am overwhelmingly grateful to the Little Baby Jesus and all of God’s Angels that neither film is included in this list. Especially Threads – while I absolutely think everyone alive today should see it, I also absolutely refuse to watch it again myself. Once was enough.

So I was surprised – and a bit uneasy – to learn that there was a proto-Threads that made it on the list. The War Game was also intended as a telefilm; an hour-long docudrama taking the form of a news magazine show, complete with on-the-street interviews and talking-heads in studios. Only the topic addressed by this magazine was the impact and aftermath of a limited nuclear strike on the United Kingdom, particularly in Cantebury and Sussex.

And….well. You’ve seen the footage, you’ve heard the reports of the impact of a nuclear strike. Or at least you should have. How the flash of the initial blast can blind you. How the heat from the blast can cause instant third-degree burns and cause furniture to spontaneously combust. How the shock wave can level structures. How the firestorm from the blast sucks up all the oxygen, so even if you’re able to escape burning to death, you still will probably suffocate. How the radiation lingers for weeks afterward. How the casualties are so great that any kind of civil service or social program – first aid, shelter, law and order, food relief – is woefully unprepared, under resourced, under-staffed, and overwhelmed. How the people who do manage to survive the blast and the radiation would probably starve. How even the people who don’t starve have absolutely crippling PTSD. How law and order ultimately breaks down altogether amongst the scant few people left.

Still – and fortunately – it wasn’t as graphic and bleak as Threads, and the “news magazine” format of this film was a very welcome buffer. I also appreciated how the filmmakers seemed to point to how ill-prepared and ill-informed both the regular public and the country’s leaders seemed to be; in one scene, our “roving-reporter” films a man going door to door in a Cantebury street delivering copies of a Civil Defense pamphlet, urging everyone to read it immediately and follow its instructions for building a shelter. The recipients are shocked and alarmed – there’s too much to do, and nowhere near enough time to do it. The “reporter” also speaks with a shopkeeper who sells the various tools needed to construct such a shelter – burlap sacks and sand to make sandbags for shoring up windows, boards and metal sheeting to shore up walls – and asks him the various costs of each item. Then the “reporter” next speaks with a worried-looking woman, asking her how much she has to spend on the shelter. For the amount she has, the reporter says in a voiceover, she can buy about eight burlap sacks and two 3×4’s.

There are no mushroom clouds in this film; no extreme gore. They focus on the smaller details; the reporter gets denied access to a building, and a passing soldier waves him over and confides that the army is burning the corpses inside, as there are too many to bury. A man surveys a list of residents’ names, comparing them to the inscriptions inside a bucket full of wedding rings; it’s a desperate attempt to identify the many, many deceased. Early on, a woman listens as the civil defense tests its air-raid siren, and turns to give the reporter a terrified stare. Towards the end, the reporter speaks to a cluster of sad-looking orphans at a refugee center, asking them what they want to be when they grow up; they all say that they “don’t wanna be nothing”. An exhausted nurse tries to tell the story of a little boy with severe burns she tried to save, but is too haunted by what she’s seen to even finish.

Periodically the “reporter” will cut in to discuss some of what we’re seeing; how Dresden suffered a firestorm very similar to the one we see in the film, and how the Los Alamos team had given them the details about radiation poisoning. The use of rings to identify the dead was something that happened in Dresden as well. And the PTSD and nihilism was something they’d seen in Hiroshima and Nagasaki. And – how some of the Pollyanna pro-nuke statements made by talking heads towards the beginning of the film were also based on actual statements made by British civil servants, scientists, and priests. “I believe that we live in a system of necessary law and order,” one man says, “and I still believe in the war of the just.”

I had to resist the impulse to punch my screen at that.

When BBC producer Peter Watkins showed his finished work to his superiors, they got cold feet and cancelled its broadcast, stating that “the effect of the film has been judged by the BBC to be too horrifying for the medium of broadcasting.” Instead, they moved it to a movie theater, screening it for three weeks before sending it on to various international film festivals. It went on to win the Oscar for Best Documentary Feature in 1966. It wasn’t until 1985 that it finally appeared on TV – as part of a double-feature with Threads to commemorate the 40th Anniversary of the bombing of Hiroshima.

When he originally reviewed The War Game in the 60s, Roger Ebert suggested that we “should string up bedsheets between the trees and show [it] in every public park.” I agree – I think everyone should see this film, as well as its more graphic descendants like Threads. Especially now that the end of the Cold War is a distant memory and Putin and Kim Jung Il have started rattling those sabers again; looking at these sabers and knowing what they could do to us is the best hope for us all.