I saw this because it was one of the last films Robin Williams made. And I would say that if you are thinking of doing the same, don’t. It’s just not worth it.
The concept is almost good. There is a guy, Henry Altmann (Robin Williams) who is totally angry all of the time. Then he is told by his doctor’s fill-in, Dr Sharon Gill (Mila Kunis) that he has a brain aneurism (true) and has ninety minutes to live (false), and he storms out, threatening to sue. So while he runs around trying to reconcile with his estranged son and distant wife and figures out how much he has messed up his life, she is trying to find him, and has his family looking for him. See, almost good. Actually, not even almost.
And the film is not even saved by the amazing cast – Robin Williams, of course, plus Mila Kunis, Peter Dinklage, Melissa Leo, Hamish Linklater, James Earl Jones, Richard Kind… but they cannot save it. I love your low-budget type dramas and the like, but this just doesn’t work.
I’ve not seen a lot of Kubrick’s work; certainly, this is something that I intend to rectify. However, I’ve always loved the work of Peter Sellers, and not least in this film. Young uns may think that playing multiple comic characters in a film is the territory of Eddie Murphy or Adam Sandler; oh no. This is the best example of it, still holding strong after almost fifty years.
The plot; Brigadier General Jack Ripper (Sterling Hayden) goes a bit nuts and uses an ill-conceived safe-guard to set a series of US planes heading towards Russia to drop nuclear weapons. Unable to contact him, President Muffley (Peter Sellers) gathers his advisers, including the hilarious General Buck Turgidson (George C Scott) to figure out a plan. They contact the Russian President by phone to advise and apologise only to discover that the Russians have installed a doomsday device which means that any nuclear attack on Russia will set a large number of weapons off toward the US and other targets. It comes down to a British officer who is on exchange working under Ripper, Group Captain Mandrake (Peter Sellers again) to try to reason with the insane man, or else everyone will be relying on the advice of Dr. Strangelove (Yup, Sellers again), an ex-Nazi in a wheelchair with one arm still loyal to Hitler.
There are so many great moments and great lines in the film. So very, very funny and having recently read and watched On The Beach, it was nice to see a humourous take on a nuclear holocaust. Black humour, of course, but humour non-the-less.
Dr. Strangelove was nominated for Oscars for Best Picture, Best Actor in a Leading Role (Peter Sellers), Best Director (Stanley Kubrick) and Best Writing, Screenplay Based on Material from Another Medium.