Monday, December 21, 2015

Slaughterhouse-Five (1972)

Director: George Roy Hill

Writers: Kurt Vonnegut Jr., Stephen Geller

Composer: Glenn Gould

Starring:  Michael Sacks, Ron Leibman, Eugene Roche, Sharon gans, Valerie Perrine, Holly Near, Perry King, Kevin Conway, Friedrich von Ledebur, Ekkehardt Belle, Sorrell Booke, Roberts Blossom, John Dehner, Gary Waynesmith, Richard Schaal, Gilmer McCormick, Stan Gottlieb, Karl-Otto Alberty, Henry Bumstead, Lucille Benson, John Wood

More info: IMDb

Tagline: He survived the deadliest day on Earth! To enjoy the sexiest night in outer space!

Plot:  "Listen: Billie Pilgrim has come unstuck in time." The opening words of the famous novel are the quickest summary of this haunting, funny film. Director Hill faithfully renders for the screen Vonnegut's obsessive story of Pilgrim, who survives the 1945 firebombing of Dresden, then lives simultaneously in his past as a young American POW, in the future as a well-cared-for resident of a zoo on the planet Tralfamadore, and in the present as a middle-aged optometrist in Ilium, N.Y.

My rating: 7/10

Will I watch it again?  No.

It's been probably 30 years since I last saw this and I remembered very little.  I've read a couple of Vonnegut's novels and I really enjoyed his unusual style.  S5 wasn't one of them but after seeing this again I'd kind of like to but I'm not exactly going to get in line to do it.   It's an odd film that takes Billy (Sacks) all over the place in time but within a (mostly) 30 year Billy bounces back and forth to a small pod (living quarters the size of a small living room) where he's being held by aliens (heard but unseen) but they give him the company of Montana (the scrummy Valerie Perrine).  From what I've read the novel is written as such that it leaves a lot of room for interpretation where whatever you think the reason might be for this 'unstuck in time' business is as good an explanation as any.  To me it feels like Billy surviving the Dresden bombing in WWII was so traumatic that it affected his psyche for the rest of his life and the planet zoo of Tralfamadore is a mental escape which makes more sense when the Hollywood starlet gets involved.  But then I'm not thinking about it too deeply.  That's just my surface opinion.  There is some humor and it's dark but there are a couple of laugh out loud moments.  What did I remember from seeing it 30 years ago that has become unstuck in time for me?

Hey, I was a teenager then.  Not much has changed for me I suppose.  The Image DVD has a nice and grainy anamorphic widescreen print and the only extra is the fullscreen trailer.

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