Slaughterhouse Five

I really cant decide if I think Slaughterhouse Five is a brilliant movie or a complete dud. Perhaps it is a little of both. I am inclined to believe it is brilliant with some dud moments, rather than a dud with some moments of brilliance, but its all the same really. To break it down, there is some heavy commentary on war here, its futility, its stupidness and mostly how bloody horrible it is. These scenes are really exceptional, reminding you that WWII was not just about the soldiers on the front line, but that hundreds of thousands of civilians lost their lives as well. The film doesn’t shy away from this, it piles it on heavy. But this is the point, the juxtaposition of this horror with all the ridiculous mundane things which surround it leads to an almost inevitable conclusion – that none of it really matters at all. When our sort of hero stands and faces death he argues that it already did happen, will happen and will always happen, and that isn’t just because the film plays around with time so much – it is because there is no point in fighting it. Where I don’t like the movie is that this sort of nihilistic attitude comes off as apathy, and sometimes even stupidity – the film doesn’t make clear if when time jumps around it is being experienced for the first time or in the context of … jumping around in time, the latter would make sense given the beginning of the film, but this just means that the main character is as a stupid when he is old as he is when he is young. I think I need to read the book so it all makes a little more sense, but really, having to read the book to make sense of the film makes it all a little pointless. Technically though it is brilliant, there are more examples here of graphic matches and sound bridges to keep the most avid student of film technique happy for a couple of weeks. So, personal issues with the main character aside, this is a good movie, even if it mostly just keeps you interested because you have absolutely no idea where it will take you next.


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