Atomic Hubbub


Reviewed by: Jennie Kermode

Atomic Hubbub
"Irwin's film is populated by an assortment of creatures who seem not quite human in the first place."

Have you ever worried what you would do in the event of a nuclear attack? Strangely, since the internet opened up government broadcasts to open public scrutiny and associated cynicism, we've received very little in the way of practical advice, but in days gone by there were any number of helpful broadcasts. Stephen Irwin's short film draws on these, combining familiar audio with quirky animation that gives it a rather different slant.

This doesn't have the melancholy hopelessness of When The Wind Blows, nor the unrelenting bleakness of Threads - its effect is more punchily absurdist, well aimed at a generation of unbelievers. As we have become less inclined to expect an all out nuclear attack, we have also grown more cynical about our prospects of surviving it, so this dark humour has shifted its focus. Irwin's film is populated by an assortment of creatures who seem not quite human in the first place, yet whose awkward forms seem an appropriate representation of the way that we have come to understand ourselves. Their thick inkiness seems appropriate to a devastated world whilst their roundedness, their cartoon crudity, immediately evokes sympathy.

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Playful and inventive in its short running time, Atomic Hubbub is a provocative examination of a horror we have come to regard as little more than background noise.

Reviewed on: 02 Jun 2010
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Helpful advice on what to do to survive a nuclear attack.
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Read more Atomic Hubbub reviews:

Andrew Robertson ***

Director: Stephen Irwin

Year: 2009

Runtime: 2 minutes

Country: UK


EIFF 2010

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