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Threads is a gripping, miserable experience

A still from the film Threads

Sometimes you have to put yourself through something painful just to recognize how good you have it. There’s a lot to be gained from enduring the most disheartening shit possible: Want to hear depressing news? Want to feel anxious and unsettled? Want to walk away feeling hopeless and cynical about the world?

That’s the experience of watching Threads, the 1984 television film that is now streaming as a part of Criterion Channel’s new Postapocalyptic Sci-fi series. (Sorry, did you think I was talking about a different thing called Threads?) Directed by Mick Jackson and written by novelist Barry Hines, Threads was a cultural phenomenon in the UK when it aired on the BBC. Depicting the aftermath of nuclear fallout with unflinching clarity,…

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