War Book

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War Book
War Book film poster.jpg
UK film poster
Directed byTom Harper
Produced byLauren Dark
Tom Harper
Written byJack Thorne
Music byJack C. Arnold
CinematographyZac Nicholson
Edited byMark Eckersley
Sixteen Films
Archer's Mark
Distributed byK5 International
Release date
  • 13 October 2014 (2014-10-13) (LFF)
  • 7 August 2015 (2015-08-07) (UK)
Running time
92 minutes[1]
CountryUnited Kingdom

War Book is a 2014 British political drama film directed by Tom Harper and written by Jack Thorne. The film features an ensemble cast, consisting of Adeel Akhtar, Nicholas Burns, Ben Chaplin, Shaun Evans, Kerry Fox, Phoebe Fox, Sophie Okonedo, Antony Sher, and Nathan Stewart-Jarrett.


Over the course of three days, eight government officials, a Member of Parliament, and a political appointee participate in a war-game which has taken place regularly among British civil servants since the 1960s, as a way to help them formulate government procedure in the event of nuclear war.[2] In the depicted meetings, set in 2014, the group discusses possible UK policy in the fictional event of a nuclear detonation in Mumbai, India by a Pakistani organisation.[3]


Premiere and reception[edit]

The film was first shown on 13 October 2014, during the London Film Festival, saw a limited cinema release on 7 August 2015, and premiered on BBC Four only four days later, on 11 August 2015.[4]

Variety's Charles Gant found the film's dialogue somewhat theatrical and compared it to Roger Donaldson’s Thirteen Days, which proved that "a talkathon rooted in a historical moment of genuine peril can be far more gripping than any invented drama, and many audiences may find the final act of “War Book” to be risibly paranoid by comparison."[3]

The Guardian's Mike McCahill felt that "theatricality looms, but the variation of voices and viewpoints among the expert cast generates a rat-a-tat momentum."[5]

The List's Nikki Baughan was much more enthusiastic, comparing it to Sidney Lumet's 1960 classic Twelve Angry Men, stating that "Jack Thorne’s remarkable script is a masterclass in slow-burn tension, combining black-and-white facts with the murky greys of human emotion to drive home the fragility of social order in the face of incoming warheads."[6]


  1. ^ BBFC: War Book Retrieved 5 August 2015
  2. ^ "War Book". Retrieved 2017-08-11.
  3. ^ a b Variety, 15 October 2014: London Film Review: ‘War Book’ Linked 2015-08-13
  4. ^ BBC Four: War Book Linked 2015-08-13
  5. ^ The Guardian, 6 August 2015: War Book review – sober speculation goes nuclear Linked 2015-08-13
  6. ^ The List, 3 August 2015: War Book - Provocative and essential nuclear war-themed drama from Tom Harper Linked 2015-08-13

External links[edit]