Dr. Strangelove Or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb Reviews
After an insane general named "Jack D. Ripper" triggers a plan to start a nuclear holocaust, a room full of generals and politicians desperately attempt to stop him before it's too late.
Before watching this, one would not expect for it to be a comedy since it's about a nuclear holocaust, a serious topic. However, I was very impressed with how Stanley Kubrick went and did it anyways. I feel like this is actually a very good topic to make a film off of. With that being said, it succeeds on different aspects of comedy.
One of the reasons why the comedy in this film works so good is how they get delayed so much. While President Merkin Muffley is warning Russia of the attacks, their conversation gets drawn out, and it makes the audience ask "Shouldn't they be trying to hurry?" In most other films, this would be a flaw, but since this is a comedy, this can be excused as it represents more about the comedy. Another great scene is when the U.S. army tries to take over a base with Ripper inside in hopes of finding the recall code to get the planes to abort their mission. Kubrick takes advantage of every single way how this scene could be drawn out, and it leaves the audience laughing at how unlucky everyone is getting. I'm not going to spoil how this film ends, but it's a really great scene which uses this concept.
Another great thing about this film is some of its dialogue. My favorite line from the film is: "Gentlemen, you can't fight here! This is the war room!" It's a simple line, but it's very effective. Also, some of the one-liners kind of take into effect its comedy where it delays scenes. For example, the scene where Gen. "Buck" Turgidson explains Ripper's plan to Merkin Muffley is full of many funny quotes like: "Well sir, I would say that General Ripper has already invalidated that policy!". Also, there is the classic ending quote.
Finally, there are some jokes that you have to think about in order to get what they mean. Some of them are even left up to interpretation for what they mean. For example, the scene at the end where the Russian ambassador steps away from everyone, and does something with his watch takes a bit of thinking to determine what he's doing, and how that ties in with another scene. Also, the classic quote at the end: "Mein Fuhrer, I can walk" has a ton of interpretations that can come from it. Another ambiguous joke is the increasing level of "Alien Hand Syndrome" that Dr. Strangelove experiences throughout the film. Finally, there can even be discussion for what the title of the film, and its alternate title mean, and why Kubrick chose those 2 titles for the film.
One thing I really like Kubrick for is how he tells simple, yet grand stories with his films. The comedy in this one represents that real well because the more I think about the comedy in this film, the more impressive and mind-blowing it seems.
Another great thing I got to mention about this film is its great acting. It is actually very easy for me to decide who my favorite actor is in this film, and it seems like a very obvious choice. My favorite actor from this film was Peter Sellers. He plays 3 different characters (Group Captain Lionel Mandrake, President Merkin Muffley, and Dr. Strangelove). I don't think that his performance was weak for any of these characters, and he gave a magnificent performance for all of them. However, my favorite character that he played was Dr. Strangelove. He is able to act in a weird and goofy tone without ever being annoying. It's hard for an actor to successfully accomplish this, but he did it exceptionally well. His other 2 roles were also great and believable as well. Without a doubt, he stole the show.
While Sellers is clearly the best, that's not to say that there weren't any other actors who blew me away. In fact, if I could give almost equal credit to another actor who did a great job as well, it would be George C. Scott as General "Buck" Turgidson. He also gave a convincing performance, and he stood out a lot as well. Other great actors include Slim Pickens as Major "King" Kong for his consistent, upbeat attitude that he maintained throughout the film; even at times of despair, Sterling Hayden as Jack D. Ripper for his way of sounding like this was a real life, serious film; not a comedy film, and Peter Bull as Alexi de Sadesky because of the suspicious tone he had which unintentionally gave him some charm.
In conclusion, this is another masterpiece in Kubrick's brilliant body of work. It hits numerous layers of comedy that can sometimes be pretty deep - this evokes Kubrick's talent of making simple, yet grand stories. Also, the acting is really good as well, especially coming from Sellers who played 3 roles exceptionally. It's no wonder why Kubrick is considered to be so good by his fans, and he continues to impress me even more every time I watch another one of his films.
What a fantastic movie, full of acrid wit and enthralling performances. Peter Sellers is a delight as always, but the whole ensemble is strong and superb. A delicious satire.
9/11/16: Watched again, still 5 stars. Forgot how fantastic the cinematography is, stunning black and white.
Dr Strangelove offers an intelligent look at the Cold War by having really funny moments, great directing, and great performances.
Slim Pickens often noted that this film established his career. Unfortunately, many so-called film aficionados of today won't bother either with black-and-white movies or films made before 1970, which is a shame, because this is clearly a wonderful work that more people today should see.
Do yourself a favour and watch it if you haven't already done so.