Very well done. So well done, in fact, that BBC commissioned it, then decided that it was too frightening to show. Watkins is one of the greatest innovators in documentary cinema, (along with Chris Marker). A very real documentary using a fictional premise, as he did in "Privilege", and "Punishment Park".
Aside from the bold structure - multifaceted docudrama, vox pop, satire, statistics, etc. - what strikes one is the scathing questioning of how, and why, the state would respond in such an eventuality. The horrific imagery of human suffering is made worse by challenging the very society we'd expect to respond in our apparent best interests. It's as much an indictment of 'peacetime' assumptions as it is apocalypse.
With its vast array of terrors visited upon the population of Kent (especially its children, suggesting Watkins may have been targeting his film to the nightmares of little children), the film mongers fear with the best of them. But it's hard not to see this as the product of a very different time. The pseudo-sobriety of the "documentary" format belies Watkins' near-hysterical approach to the subject matter.
This is visionary, bold, direct filmmaking. The clarity of the director's aim and the willful lack of subtlety shocks you into taking notice. Peter Watkins was never more iconoclastic. Which is why the BBC did everything they could to bury this film, for over thirty years
Woah. A feirce and daring little quasi-documentary full of some of the most haunting moments. It's downright astounding that this film was made for the general public as it has a deeply polarizing message that is perhaps not so subtly told but takes it's message to the ultimate conclusion. Certainly would have frightened me into political action had I seen it at the height of the cold war era.