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Yojimbo's Movie Reviews (2314)

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Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb 
"Dr. Strangelove" by Yojimbo
3/4 stars

Stanley Kubrick's black comic classic begins as a pseudo documentary describing the numerous nuclear safeguards in place to "defend" the US against attack. In fact, the film was originally intended to be a straight cold war thriller based on the novel Red Alert as Kubrick had become obsessed with the idea of nuclear annihilation after the Cuban missile crisis which occurred the previous year. But upon commencing filming, Kubrick realised it was actually impossible to capture the scale of such an unimaginable situation if played straight and instead concentrated on the inherent absurdities, and it is that inspired decision that is one of the examples of his true genius. Dr. Strangelove himself is rather a peripheral character, sticking only in the memory because of his silly accent and (somewhat overplayed) slapstick. For me the real laughs come in the more deadpan scenes, particularly those involving Sellers' bumbling, stiff upper-lipped voice of reason, Group Captain Mandrake and Sterling Hayden's loopy base commander, and George C. Scott's child-like philandering general. I'm not the biggest fan of Peter Sellers (especially considering what a colossal asshole he was in real life) and although I thought it got a little bogged down with unnecessary details during the flight sequences, the scenes on the ground are pure genius. Some may not see the funny side of mutual annihilation, but it's an enduring and classic piece of political satire.


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