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Synopsis of

This Is Not a Test  (2008 - English)

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This Is Not a Test synopsis (story)

This Is Not a Test plot summary, This Is Not a Test full story

  • Emmy Iyer
    Emmy Iyerwrote on Apr 8 2011 12:01PM


    The film is based around a man called Carl (Hill Harper) who's living his everyday life whilst trying to cope with his fear of terrorist nuclear attacks. However, with the threat so high he soon lets loose and jeopardizes his family and friends.
    This fear begins when he hears more talk of terrorism on the news. He soon begins to have nightmares about him and his family dying in result of a nuclear terrorist attack. He searches on the internet "how to protect your family from a terrorist attack". He ends up at a seminar he found on a website that specializes in providing people with steps to prepare for an attack. There, he meets comedian Tom Arnold, who is also having fears of an attack. Him and Arnold end up forming a close relationship later in the film.

    While Carl is preparing, he also has to deal with a literature class with 4 "ghetto type" students.
    Carl begins to clean out his basement and begins to convert it into a fallout shelter. He keeps his shelf and fills it with several emergency supply items (duct tape, food, water, flashlights, batteries, and an EMP-proof radio). This begins to worry his wife Vivian, who is pregnant. She sends him to a therapist, who Carl begins to dislike. Vivian is even more worried when Tom takes Carl out to the shooting range at a gun shop, where Carl buys a 9mm Glock pistol. He places it and some gold he found in a safe, which is delivered by 3 shady looking characters. The gold, safe, and gun are lost when the same guys who delivered the safe rob Carl and tie him along with his wife up in the shelter.

    During a scene when Carl is scanning his shelter for radiation, he sees a high radiation count in a plate he obtained from a homeless man earlier in the film. He returns the plate to him, however the man does not believe him and gives him a card to a mental health clinic.
    In one scene, Carl goes to a comedy club where Tom is performing, and hears Tom joking about him. He feels betrayed, and avoids contact with Tom.
    Carl soon begins to believe that America is a dangerous place, and he searches for a home in British Columbia. This leads to Viv and him being separated while Viv takes a job for the city government. Carl takes the house and says goodbye to his wife when she is heading to work. Just as Carl is packing, Tom calls him, and apologizes for his stage performance. He then tells Carl that one of his friends deep in the government reported that bomb disposal units have been dispatched to downtown L.A., where an armed suitcase nuke had been found. Tom has saved two seats in a jet for him and Viv to escape from the impending attack. Carl agrees and gets his dog, and then sets out to warn Viv. Viv does not believe him and hangs up on Carl. Carl then calls his students and warns them to take shelter.

    The Emergency Alert System comes on the air and broadcasts an EAN warning of the terrorist attack. Carl calls Viv again, who is now working the crisis at city hall. He shows up at the airport, and tells Tom he's not going. He gives Tom his dog and begins to go to the government building to find Viv and take shelter. With two minutes left until the bomb detonates, he finds Viv, who is working the 911 service. When he tells Viv to go to the shelter with him, Viv expresses concerns about the people needing help. In the last seconds before detonation, Viv and Carl say they love each other one last time, hold hands, and die together in the explosion.
    The explosion is not shown, however Carl gives an afterword during the final scene.


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