Perhaps the best essay on propaganda I’ve seen. A tone poem on the Atomic Age, beginning with the Enola Gay and ending with the proliferation of the H-Bomb, this film is 90 minutes of pure footage, radio broadcasts and music. It begins as a documentary, it ends as a collage of fear and violence. It is more Koyaanisqatsi than The History Channel. While it is easy in 2005 to laugh off the threats of the Soviets (although I am currently reading “The Gulag Archipelago” and I am beginning to think that some current Cold War revisionist history could use some revising) one can’t laugh off the techniques of collective thought control on display here, and still very much in use. It is a direct route from Duck and Cover to Bill O’Reilly’s war on stores that wish you “Happy Holidays.” Anyone who can’t see that is lost lost lost. Highly recommended.
Jordan Hoffman is a New York-based writer and film critic working for The Guardian, Vanity Fair, Thrillist, Times of Israel, NY Daily News and elsewhere.
He is the host of ENGAGE: The Official Star Trek Podcast, a member of the New York Film Critics Circle and challenges you to a game of backgammon.