Very intense, exploring the psychological aspects of extremely difficult decisions, great cinematography. I can imagine how powerful and terrifying it was to watch this film at a cinema in 1964, two years after the Cuban Missile Crisis, at the peak of the Cold War. Having been made during the 60's, the film was obviously influenced by the propaganda seriously downplaying the Soviet Union side... Strong ending!
Can one trust a nation to provide adequate safeguards and controls when the only word they have for ensure is insure? History shows mistakes were made but Stanislav Petrov saved us all. Perhaps Mubi will show The Man Who Saved The World soon :)
Over-simplified in some aspects, but that doesn't limit the overall plot and the bigger moral dilemmas in this brilliant film. From the opening sequence, which announces "5:30 AM, New York City" before plunging the viewer into a bull ring at midday, this movie grabs and never lets go until the very end.
Where Dr Strangelove depicts doomsday as absurdist farce, Fail-Safe plays it out as real. Lumet's focus is on psychological realism, honing in on the mental strain of every character from the get-go which builds to unbearable levels of intensity. Design, cinematography and the clever use of "negative" stock footage all contribute to the sense of nightmare. Absolutely taut film-making of the highest order.