Film Review: Threads


Director: Mick Jackson

Writer: Barry Hines

Stars: Karen Meagher, Reece Dinsdale, David Brierly

Verdict: Abandon hope all ye who enter here

We’ve talked a lot about Ben Wheatley, (Kill List, Sightseers, High-Rise), on this blog, and touched on the film critic Mark Kermode, and they are both responsible this film falling under my radar. Ben Wheatley in an interview said you should watch this film in a double bill with Mad Max to show truly fantasist and realist interpretations of a nuclear apocalypse, (throw Dr. Strangelove in for good measure for somewhere in between). 

Threads indeed follows a narrative of a nuclear apocalypse. Starting life as a panorama episode, Threads mixes narrative techniques from documentaries, kitchen sink Ken Loach dramas like Kes and The Angels’ Share, and more surreal cinema to present with a truly shocking tale of the build up to, cultural context surrounding, and devastating aftermath of a nuclear bomb through the prism of two families living in working class Sheffield and the local politicians caught way over their heads. 

There really isn’t that much to say about Threads other than it is brutal. It pulls no punches to convincingly create this world. The make-up and production design is incredible, I mean really incredible and really convincing. This isn’t in the way where you go ‘ooh isn’t that good effects’ it’s in the way that makes you want to throw up and cry. The acting is really, really good, really realistic and grounded, and I suppose in a film like this it has to be, you don’t want Tom Cruise complaining about how all the water’s poisoned in a council flat do you? 

Another aspect that makes this film so effective is how convincing the build up is, and they take their time with it. The proper time is taken to tackle the subject respectfully, to set up the characters and the political climate so that when the actual event occurs it is as shocking as any horror movie. 

Threads is grounded in realism but don’t let that put you off, it is a brutal, gruelling horror movie of a drama that has left me scarred, there are scenes from Threads I will never forget.


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