Using his own terminology, Billy Pilgrim is "unstuck in time", which means he is moving between different points in his life uncontrollably, although he is aware of it at certain of those points as witnessed by the letter to the editor he writes to the Ilium Daily News about his situation. Primarily, he is moving between three general time periods and locations. The first is his stint as a GI during WWII, when, as a pacifist, he was acting as a Chaplain's assistant for his unit. This time is largely as a POW, where he was in Dresden the day of the bombing, spending it with among others an older compassionate GI named Edgar Derby, and a brash loudmouth GI named Paul Lazzaro. The second is his life as an optometrist in Ilium in upstate New York, eventually married to the wealthy and overbearing Valencia Merble, and having two offspring, Robert, who would spend his teen-aged years as a semi-delinquent, and Barbara, who would end up much like her mother. And the third is as an abductee on...Written by
Although Vonnegut's renown refrain, "So it goes", appears over 100 times in his novel, it does not occur, even once, in the movie version. See more »
In the scenes of Tralfamadore, the planet Jupiter (easily recognizable by its giant red spot, which is a massive permanent storm) is visible in the background, but it never rotates. See more »
That corporal. He'll get back home after the war. He'll be a big hero. Dames'll be climbin' all over him. Couple of years go by, and one day there's gonna be a knock on his door and there'll be this stranger. "Paul Lazzaro sent me," the stranger will say and then he'll pull out a gun and shoot his pecker off. Stranger will give him a couple of seconds to think about who Paul Lazzaro is and what life's gonna be like without a pecker. Then he'll shoot him once in the guts and walk away. Yes.
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Concerto No 3 for Harpsichord in D major, BWV 1054 - 3rd movement 'Allegro'
Written by Johann Sebastian Bach (as J.S. Bach) Glenn Gould, Piano
Columbia Symphony Orchestra
Vladimir Goldschmann, Conductor See more »
The film Slaughterhouse 5 is a brilliantly portrayed interpretation of a great but typically multilinear novel by science fiction author Kurt Vonnegut. With all due respect to the literary critics, sci fi really is what Vonnegut most often wrote - whether or not it is viewed as allegory or even 'serious literature'. As such, it was not really made to convey the same messages,nor even the aesthetics of the book, but rather to convey the director's (and others on the creative team) impressions of the book.
The book is also brilliant, but none of Vonnegut's work is easily adapted to the medium of film. Not quite the task Cronenberg took on when he directed Burrough's Naked Lunch, but very similar in method.
S-5 exposes us to the life of Billy Pilgrim (Michael Sacks) and his many loves (his dog spot, his wife played by Holly Near and an actress played by Valerie Perrine), as he either blacks out and travels into the deep recesses of his memory experiencing the delusion of time travel or (as indicated by his occasional leaps forward in time), he actually has become 'unstuck in time.' Between trips back to Dresden during its WWII bombing and trips forward to the planet Tralfamador, it seems that Billy is constantly tripping. Yet he manages to build a successful and very normal American life despite his bizarre and uncontrollable time-travel habit.
The film illustrates the non-linear manner in which the book is written by skipping from time to time in a seemingly random manner, but it manages to do so without losing focus on Pilgrim, who is, in fact always living in the present regardless of what time he happens to be experiencing. Fantastic directoral method!
The film makes a lot of subtle, simple and very good points by making Billy - a quiet simple guy with an extraordinary set of circumstances in his life - a true hero simply because he is relatively nice, somewhat aloof, happy, and quite normal. Sacks' performance is spot-on.
This film is beautifully photographed, very well paced, perfectly directed and edited. The acting is all quite good, and comes from a well appointed cast mostly consisting of character actors. I was particularly impressed with Eugene Roche's excellent portrayal of Edgar Derby.
Highly recommended for the art-house crowd and friends of intelligent sci fi.
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