Film of the Day (06/28/18): Dr. Strangelove, Or: How I Learned To Stop Worrying And Love The Bomb

 

Written By Stanley Kubrick and Terry Southern and Peter George
Directed By Stanley Kubrick

Can you imagine this being made today? Nuclear war with Russia is imminent, all caused by bumbling Washington idiots who can’t get out of their own way enough to prevent the destruction of the entire planet? Government systems of control so stupid that their absolute senselessness makes perfect sense? Moments that are so simultaneously scary and funny that depression seems to be the only emotion that makes sense? If this trailer were in color and the cast didn’t have these names, you would think this was a modern satire. It’s insane how well this holds up after over fifty years, but thanks to the current climate, I wonder if it could be considered even funnier, darker and more relevant today than it was in 1964. It may be the darkest comedy I’ve ever seen, and the funny moments are as laugh-out-loud funny as the implications are terrifying. From the president shouting “You can’t fight in here! This is the War Room!” to a high-ranking General interrupting a meeting where the fate of the world hangs in the balance so he can assure his girlfriend he’ll be home soon, to the presidents of the US and Russia having an incredibly inane conversation on the phone while mutually-assured destruction is well underway, this is almost too funny. Almost too well-done. It is pure madness, and I mean that in the most complimentary way possible. The balance between the funny and the frightening is remarkable. The suspense never suffers as the comedy takes center stage, which speaks to Kubrick’s abilities as a writer/director. Themes of human greed, arrogance and stupidity, the incompetence of government and the sheer madness of nuclear war take center stage in what should be required viewing for all adults, especially those who run for public office.

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