O, what a tangled web conceived, in an atomic age of no reprieve. A prescient tale of humanity diminished by the looming mushroom cloud, an exclamation point to the brief lives segregated by nuclear holocaust, this final winter of awful discontent. THREADS is a brutally honest representation of a nuclear war and its immediate effects and fallout, gruesome in its portrayal of the millions dead, frightening in its scope of murderous intent.
The story begins innocently enough as two young lovers embrace and talk about future plans, parked on a hill overlooking their town, momentarily lost in the dreams and imagination of youth. The radio’s voice poisons the atmosphere with its noxious newscast, declaring the elevated tensions between world powers. The ubiquitous newscaster haunts the film, a droning soliloquy easily ignored until reality begins to intrude upon their lives. Soon, violent protests and boldfaced headlines lead to heightened awareness, the possibility of war impossible to ignore.
The narrative follows the couple and their families, representing disparate social classes impregnated with fear, showing that all lives are tied together by the thread of human existence. The cinematography utilizes many close-ups and establishing shots in full frame compositions, but when the carnage begins each frame screams with an abundance of suffering, every inch filled with the corpses of the atomic age.
The modern world descends back to medieval times under a blanket of irradiated snow, children of this new age toiling to survive, knowledge replaced by animal instincts. The young mother has survived the holocaust and ten years later ends her suffering in a dilapidated barn, her death an ironic contrast to the birth of an impotent savior two thousand years before. Her daughter struggles ever onward never knowing hope or charity, and the film ends, like Munch’s existential masterpiece, with a silent scream.
Final Grade: (A)