(director: Robert B. Weide, Don Argott; screenwriter: Robert B. Weide; cinematographer: Don Argott, David Yosha, Joel Sucher, Buddy Squires; editor: William Neal, Bo Price, Demien Fenton; music: Alex Mansour; cast:Jerome Klinkowitz, Sidney Offit, Morley Safer, Daniel Simon, John Irvin, David L. Ulin, Edie Vonnegut, Nanny Vonnegut, Dan Wakefield, Linda Weide, Sam Waterston; Runtime: 127; MPAA Rating: NR; producer; Robert B. Weide: IFC Films; 2021)

The striking film, a warm tribute to the author.”

Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz

Robert B. Weide (“Lenny Bruce: Swear to Tell the Truth”) and an opposite ‘heavy metal’ personality, Don Argott(“Believer”),  co-direct an intriguing, unconventional documentary on the influential, unlikely pop culture icon, best-selling novelist, and failed car salesman, Kurt Vonnegut (Breakfast of Champions and Slaughterhouse Five), who was born in 1922 in Indianapolis and died in 2007 in Manhattan– and of his relationship of 25 years with Weide (who forever–since 1982– wanted to do a biopic on him).

Vonnegut has said “I have written again and again about ordinary people who have tried to behave decently in an indecent society.”

The striking film, a warm tribute to the author, who published 14 novels, three short story collections and five plays, is filled with archival footage and acts as a good primer for those viewers who care to see again one of the greatest writers of the last century or refresh their memories of him.

It explores the author’s childhood in Indiana, his service duty in WW2, his family life and his time as a magazine writer. It offers reflections on him being a great humorist. And it gets its title from Billy Pilgrim, his American POW protagonist in his break-through novel, Slaughterhouse Five (1969), who feels ‘unstuck in time’–he can’t stop bouncing around his own life like a pinball.

REVIEWED ON 12/4/2021  GRADE: B+