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Special Bulletin

Entry updated 16 February 2017. Tagged: Film.

Made-for-tv film (1983). NBC. Directed by Edward Zwick. Written by Marshall Herskovitz. Cast includes Christopher Allport, David Clennon, Ed Flanders, David Rasche and Kathryn Walker. 92 minutes. Colour.

An unnervingly effective pseudodocumentary, this presents itself as television coverage of an escalating terrorist crisis in Charleston, where a dissident group of nuclear Scientists and peace activists threatens to set off an atomic bomb in the dockyard unless all the nuclear weapons in the region are turned over to them for dumping. With cutaways to White House spokesmen lying, conflicting reports from political correspondents, interviews with experts, on-the-spot reports, ranting demands from the terrorists and hastily assembled background profiles on the offenders, Special Bulletin is a fine recreation of a now-familiar style of television coverage, and in a surprisingly rigorous manner examines the Media influencing the atrocities they purport to cover. The glimpses at the end of the detonation of the bomb – a defusing attempt is bungled – are perhaps more effective than the special-effects holocausts of The Day After (1983) and Threads (1984), and the final moments, in which other news issues creep into the schedule, are understated but cutting. [KN]

see also: Without Warning.


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