Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb (1964) Review

If I had to describe this movie in one sentence, it would be: It starts off slow and ends in a Bang. My friend invited me to watch this movie with some of her acquaintances. Within a few minutes, she left the room because she was bored. Her loss (I even tried to get her to watch it with me again after the movie ended but no luck). I think her reaction is common. Whenever I watch a movie from a different culture and/or generation, it can take me some time to get use to the rhythm. For example, another friend I met in the US, who was from Guatemala, told me his family in Guatemala said he sounded like he was singing whenever spoke Spanish to them.

But I digress. The first couple of minutes are not that bad, in fact, they help to lay the ground work for the movie. It starts out with a seemingly sensible looking U.S. Air Force General ordering his pilots to drop nuclear bombs on the Soviet Union. There is not a dull moment from that point and hilarious hijinks ensue. The audience soon finds out that the General was acting on his own deluded thinking, not an order from his superiors as one would assume, and your kept guessing till the very end whether or not disaster will be averted.

Dr. Strangelove Summary:

An insane general starts a process to nuclear holocaust that a war room of politicians and generals frantically try to stop.

I loved this movie because it was comedy at its best, managing to make you laugh and think. The movie and characters are completely ridiculous but so is war and, keeping in context of the movie, the cold war. There were and are many delusional people in powerful positions who could and do make decisions with catastrophic consequences. The General is not the only who shows poor judgment in the movie. The president and his aides, actually have to debate whether or not to stop the bombing. One of these trusted aides is a former Nazi, Dr. Strangelove. Dr. Strangelove is not just the movies namesake but a personification of the movie’s underlining theme. The Cold War was an irrational and unnecessary part of human history. At that point, the U.S. probably would work with anyone, even a former Nazi, to fight the Soviet Union. The conflict was so consuming, it blinded the political leaders to such hypocrisies.

This movie was made in the 60s, a time when people were challenging long held beliefs. It was very much a head of its time, though, because like the first friend I mentioned, many people didn’t get it. It was talking about something everyone feared, a nuclear end war, but it was completely absurd at the same time.

Well, It’s time has come. AFV listed it third on AFI's 100 Years...100 Laughs, and I give it four stars. If you haven’t seen it yet, what are you waiting for? Your 49 years behind, time to catch up. When you’re done getting caught up, you can send me your suggestions and comments @EstherScene. Can’t wait to hear from you.

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