Slaughterhouse-Five is a mechanically slick, dramatically sterile commentary about World War II and afterward, as seen through the eyes of a boob Everyman. Director George Roy Hill’s arch achievement emphasizes the diffused cant to the detriment of characterizations, which are stiff, unsympathetic and skin-deep.
Stephen Geller’s adaptation of Kurt Vonnegut Jr’s novel Slaughterhouse-Five or The Children’s Crusade is in an academic sense fluid and lucid. Michael Sacks in his screen debut plays Billy Pilgrim, the luckless loser who always seems to be in the wrong place at the wrong time.
The story jumps around from its beginning in World War II where as a dumb draftee Pilgrim becomes a prisoner of war in Germany.
In the postwar period, Pilgrim moves into the orbits of overweight wife and predictable offspring.