War Book UK DEBATE Section
Following on from a poignant film of Vera Brittain’s memoir Testament of Youth, the final scenes of which show her impassioned plea for no more war, I went to see Tom Harper‘s new film War Book.
In a contemporary setting, a group of policy wonks follow the planned protocols for a post-nuclear scenario. This has been going on since the Cold War, pretty much all over the NATO countries. A practice session in which different people play the parts of their real-life ministers and discuss and vote on the rational steps that would have to be taken following a nuclear attack by one nation, or more likely one extremist group, against another.
Each proto-minister is given a brief, presents the scenario to the others and a vote is taken on what steps should be followed through. With exemplary acting from the likes of Sophie Okonedo, Antony Sher, Kerry Fox and others, the tensions mount as each person struggles with their personal demons at the same time as taking on board the bleak outcomes offered by other departments, exploring the options while looking down the barrel at the abyss.