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


Tagline: The hot-line suspense comedy. Hot line, fine. Suspense and comedy?..

Premise: The Americans bollix up and order a nuclear strike by their planes across the whole of Russia. The President scrambles to rectify the situation, hampered by an inebriated Russian Premier, Military leaders with agendas and an overwhelming air of distrust.

Delivery: “Gentlemen, you can't fight in here, this is the War Room!”

Dr. Strangelove is a much revered Stanley Kubrick film which still gets held up today as being a masterpiece, something relevant and important and hilarious even today. I had never seen it, but Empire online had a piece on the best films on Netflix and I decided it was high time to educate myself. What did I learn? Well, to be honest I'm still trying to work that out.

The first half an hour is pretty slow and almost completely devoid of humour. I deliberately swerve the word “jokes” here as I was aware Dr. Strangelove is high brow, so you have to really work to see the comedy. That's how you know it's hilarious. Having almost quit watching after the first third, the pace began to pick up and some more obvious humour was introduced. There are a few genuinely lovely, amusing moments and the characters' names are pretty silly (General Turgidson, Merkin Muffley, Jack D. Ripper etc).

However, the laughs are not that frequent or amazingly hilarious that I was blown away. Yes I understand the humour is supposed to be in the folly of leadership, as the world leaders flail around trying to untie the clusterfuck of knots they've created, but it wasn't laugh inducing. Or, for that matter, very dramatic. I know we still live under the threat of nuclear annihilation but Dr. Strangelove just left me wondering why it is so highly regarded.

Perhaps it's what I'll call the 1984 effect. Something is so revered and has so much emphasis placed on its relevance and brilliant insight, that people feel obliged to say they loved it and how wonderful it is incase others think that they're thick. Also, it's in black and white so it has to be good! I happen to actually like 1984, but I'm afraid to say Dr. Strangelove left me cold. Genuinely afraid, that's not just a figure of speech. I anticipate being chastised for this opinion. Maybe I am an idiot, perhaps this is me stepping out as just another run of the mill halfwit. Don't let me near culture; I wouldn't understand it. When's the next Michael Bay film out? I like Michael Bay.

Bedsit it? Well, look, you're probably smarter than I am. You might like Dr. Strangelove, but for me it has lost its edge. It isn't terrible, but it is not now what it was over fifty years ago. In my opinion Team America was just as satirical, actually funny, and more accessible. The funniest thing about Dr. Strangelove, was in the IMDb trivia. Kubrick, referring to Peter Sellers' $1,000,000 salary (55% of the budget to play three of the leads), quipped, “I got three for the price of six.” BA DUM! 6/10

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