When I first saw this film 2 years ago, I saw it, I thought about it for a second, and I thought it was good, but I didn't understand why it was so universally loved. Really high on IMDB's Top 250 list, has a near perfect score on Rotten Tomatoes, put high on a few of AFI's lists, and at the top of many people's and critic's all time favorite films. So I got to thinking, why was it so well loved?
So, I saw it cheap on Amazon, so I bought it and I gave it a rewatch. Now, having rewatched it, I now understand why this film is so great. First, you can't really talk about the film without talking about the time period this film was released. It was made at the height of the Cuban Missile Crisis and the Cold War. So the idea of making a dark comedy about nuclear devastation at the height of all that was very bold. So I will give the film credit there.
This film is a very funny and interesting look at war, holocaustic catastrophe, and humanity. Even on the verge at the end of the world, humans are still selfish, racist, and untrusting. I also think it's funny how they have all of these pre-cautions in hopes of preventing nuclear war, and yet it's those pre-cautions that actually cause most of the problems in this films.
So what you have is a very bizarre dark comedy that has everything that could conceivably go wrong, go wrong all the while the people witnessing the whole thing don't change, waste time, and only make the problem worse rather than fixing it.
Speaking of the people, almost every actor in this film is great. Overacting, ham acting, etc. Expect that kind of acting and it's all fantastic. I also had no idea that Peter Sellars was playing the 3 parts at first. I had to look it up to find out. Multi-acting at it's finest.
All of these combine together with hilarious scenes, great memorable characters, and a plot that is brilliant. I personally think that it's a film you have to stop and think about in order to understand it. Once you realize it and watch it maybe twice, you can see why it's so beloved. For my money, it's really great. Just took me a while to see why.
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