If I were to tell you that M*A*S*H, the movie and not the TV show, won the Palme d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival, you’d probably think it some stupid joke along the lines of the film itself. Nevertheless, it is completely true, so this must be a hell of a film, brimming with power and grace, right? Well, sorta; it’s your average comedy that just happens to be set in a military hospital unit, but it’s not bad at all.
The film is presented through a series of vignettes, interspersed with bits of surgery, all encompassed by a blase ever-pervasive radio bulletin announcer. The opening song, “Suicide is Painless”, is severely depressing if you really pay attention to it, but it perfectly sets the sardonic mood the rest of the film pursues. I can see why this spawned a successful sitcom, as the film plays very often like a sitcom. It is very episodic, with very little overarching plot, other than the day to day rigmarole of the MASH unit in question. Apparently, this is a common theme in Robert Altman films, and it’s one I don’t particularly care for, but that’s up to each individual viewer’s tastes.
The film was amusing enough, even if it didn’t start being so until about halfway through. I’m not really too sure as to where all the love for this film is coming from; I found it passable, but nothing all that special. But hey, to each their own; you may have a much more interesting go-around with this one than I did, and it’s certainly one I can recommend to a much wider audience than most other films on this list.
Arbitrary Rating: 7/10