Slaughterhouse-Five (1972)

Day: January 11th, Movie: 11

This was another film that was filled with bizarre moments and a variety of tones. Slaughterhouse-Five is a comedy, a sci-fi film, a war movie and a drama. It is an odd mishmash of tones that do not always blend together well.

Billy Pilgrim (Michael Sacks) kicked off the movie writing a letter to a newspaper claiming to being “unstuck in time” and bouncing around his life span. He goes to his past as a young soldier behind enemy lines during World War II. He and a group of other Americans were captured and taken to the German city Dresden.

We also see Billy in a present day where he is married to his wife, Valencia (Sharon Gans) with a couple of adult children. Valencia died by accident after she was racing to the hospital to see Billy, who had been involved in a plane crash.

We also got a vision of Billy’s future and his death. Billy wound up on the planet Tralfamadore (which was a series of planets used in Kurt Vonnegut novels, of which this film was inspired).

I was never sure if I was supposed to laugh at some of the things that were happening or if I was supposed to be upset by them. The narrative structure of bouncing around the timeline was interesting and did remind me of the format of LOST episode The Constant (though the actual story of the TV show was different than Slaughterhouse-Five).

Michael Sacks did a great job as the main protagonist of this movie, having to display different times of the same character. He was able to create several distinct characters out of the same person. I thought that the rest of the cast was overacting or were not up to the lead performance.

Slaughterhouse-Five was a sci-fi war, dramady that just did not work together very well. It was fascinating at first, but the unstable tone caused me to feel put off by the movie.

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