The cold war years have faded for many. Younger generations do not know that horror of stop, drop and roll (now used for fire prevention). Those were days where, we were often suffering from a creeping fear of a nuclear disaster and the bomb. Miracle Mile was the A bomb hitting LA script that was a very popular idea but was not still produced yet script. When it came to the screen, via its writer now turned director, it has turned into a rather inconsistent parable about how that threat was ever present and what would happen next to society.
Harry (Anthony Edwards) is a big band player and when he meets Julie (Mare Winningham) while at La Brea Tar Pits, he falls for her. They set up to meet when her shift ends at the local 24 hour diner. Harry’s alarm clock fails to go off after a power cut and he gets there late. Four in the morning and with nowhere left to go, he eats at the diner. However when he steps outside for a cigarette, a persistent ringing phone forces him to answer it. Once he raises that phone to his ear, the garbled message on the other end, tell that nuclear war is about to begin in an hour’s time. Now Harry must track down Julie and get them out of the bombs way and to safety!
Its obvious that a great script does not make a great film. Miracle mile is that type of film. It has some rather powerful comments to make about the then policy of MAD (Mutually Assured Destruction.), the reaction to this and to nuclear war. This sad truth for me is that it just misses almost all the time. In truth it is the leads lack of chemistry and the love story feels false and sometimes horrible. It should be called losers and the power of dependency. This said it is not just their fault. The ideas are confused and irrational. They are also disconnected and this makes them feel absurd. Which then often makes the film spill into hysteria.
The extras on the disc give us a revealing expose of the film and its era. The commentary by De Jarnett is essential and I would say listen with an ear to the time. The other piece is the music. It shows how great Tangerine Dream are and were.
SPECIAL EDITION CONTENTS