ReadyNutrition Readers, as we approach (we hope) the elections, and the threat increases almost on a daily basis for a nuclear war, I find myself watching some films that I haven’t seen in a while. One that I just recently watched is “The Divide,” a film that is more of a post-apocalyptic character study than a simple nuclear war survival film. The movie was directed by Xavier Gens, and boasts a cast of such notables as Michael Biehn (star of the original “Terminator” movie).
The film opens with Lauren German staring from a high-rise apartment building in New York City as nuclear missiles are falling upon the city in the distance. A frantic dash with her fiancée leads them and five others into the basement refuge of the apartment building’s superintendent, played by Biehn. Others try and get in, but Biehn closes and seals the door, just as a nuclear fireball hits the building.
Biehn’s basement fortress is just that: he’s a 9-11 survivor who has been converting the basement into a doomsday bunker, complete with generator and many other supplies. The building soon collapses around and on top of them, and the seven of them have survived the initial onslaught.
Please take note: If you watch this movie, it’s not for kids…and it’s hard on adults, myself included!
The reason it bears watching is that it can practically be a treatise on post-apocalyptic sociological-anthropological behavior. The acting is superbly believable, and the actors play the parts of their characters to a tee. The movie runs true to form as a disaster film in its “evolution” or progression from one state of human behaviors to the next.
Initially the group has a half-hearted attempt to cooperate with one another. There comes a point when tensions begin to spike: over food, which Biehn is holding out on them: he’s just providing a bare subsistence. A faction begins to form between three of the younger men who are resisting Biehn’s leadership. Regarding said leadership, Biehn is not productive, in that he isn’t actively trying to foster good teamwork and cooperation among the group.
After a while, the group is intruded upon: by a pseudo-governmental entity in biohazard suits. The encounter is not what the group has hoped for, and at the conclusion of the intrusion, one of the group is abducted. Mounting an attempt at rescue, it fails, and subsequently radiation has been introduced into the shelter and the group realizes they are on their own.
Things denigrate from there. All of the elements in the “progression of denigration,” the descent into savagery are present. There is in-fighting, torture, licentiousness, and murder. It is hard to believe upon first viewing it that Gens was able to so fluidly incorporate all of these elements, and more, into one film.
It shows the level that man can sink to when he decides to no longer control himself and his actions.
This film makes the Twilight Zone episode “The Shelter” appear to be a walk down Sesame Street. It is dark and foreboding, with very few light moments or elements of goodness and compassion. For my own part, I viewed the film as a total failure of Michael Biehn’s character to show true leadership skills and teamwork, both of which would have prevented the descent into barbarism. In my opinion, in a real-world situation of when the SHTF, you have two options:
- Exclude everyone, in which case you’ll probably have to resort to force, or
- If you accept newcomers, you’ll need to fully inculcate them into the group/family with an understanding that you’ll help them, but there are rules that need to be followed in order for all to benefit.
The setting for the film is good, because it presents a survival situation in an urban area with supplies in place prior to the S hitting the fan. Most of these films have the survivors in a semi-remote area. In this case, the film is not so much about survival and preparing, but a microcosm, a “biome,” if you will of human behavior under apocalyptic conditions. It is by far the hardest one you will ever sit through if you watch it. It was hard for me. Some might say, “Well, why watch it?” The answer is to condition and prepare yourself for scenarios that might arise and to use what you see to “game” out methods to avoid things going so far.
Remember: you’re safe in your house, watching, and it hasn’t happened yet. The shock that will come of seeing things around you as they are… cannot be overemphasized…for when the SHTF. If you can prepare yourself beforehand by observing such things and using them for training tools, as I’ve mentioned in the past, then that shock value will be decreased somewhat, as self-conditioning with these types of films is a form of mental preparation for things that will be faced down the road. It might just give you the edge, and help you to cope with issues better when the time arrives. Until later, keep fighting that good fight, and hang in there.
Jeremiah Johnson is the Nom de plume of a retired Green Beret of the United States Army Special Forces (Airborne). Mr. Johnson was a Special Forces Medic, EMT and ACLS-certified, with comprehensive training in wilderness survival, rescue, and patient-extraction. He is a Certified Master Herbalist and a graduate of the Global College of Natural Medicine of Santa Ana, CA. A graduate of the U.S. Army’s survival course of SERE school (Survival Evasion Resistance Escape), Mr. Johnson also successfully completed the Montana Master Food Preserver Course for home-canning, smoking, and dehydrating foods.
Mr. Johnson dries and tinctures a wide variety of medicinal herbs taken by wild crafting and cultivation, in addition to preserving and canning his own food. An expert in land navigation, survival, mountaineering, and parachuting as trained by the United States Army, Mr. Johnson is an ardent advocate for preparedness, self-sufficiency, and long-term disaster sustainability for families. He and his wife survived Hurricane Katrina and its aftermath. Cross-trained as a Special Forces Engineer, he is an expert in supply, logistics, transport, and long-term storage of perishable materials, having incorporated many of these techniques plus some unique innovations in his own homestead.
Mr. Johnson brings practical, tested experience firmly rooted in formal education to his writings and to our team. He and his wife live in a cabin in the mountains of Western Montana with their three cats.