Jason's Review of The Atomic Cafe
The Atomic Cafe(1982)
This is a darkly funny and often scary look at first twenty years of the nuclear age. The filmmakers took archival government footage of alleged information on atomic bombs, their effects and what to do in case of a nuclear attack. While I think it is heavy handed at times, it's just plain entertaining to see what was being shown to people in America, what was possible even believed by the American people and how much was probably hidden. Some of it was quite shocking at times, like soldiers asked to patrol ground zero right after a bomb was tested only 150-200 yards from their shallow trenches. Or the feeble instructions for people to simply duck and cover, as if that was an effective way to shield them from a nuclear blast. I was surprised they didn't do more with the Cuban Missile Crisis or interviews with Oppenheimer or some of the scientists. It was nice to see Ward Cleaver show up, though!