Little Murders

Director: Alan Arkin
Year Released: 1971
Rating: 2.0

Grim satire of Vietnam-era America that becomes less funny the longer it goes on. Black comedy is tricky to pull off because if it becomes too dark it seems the capacity for humor is lost: once Elliot Gould's fiancée gets killed by a sniper (and Gould is covered in her gore) the movie becomes too bleak - not to mention preachy; there are a surplus of speeches - for the jaded but still welcome humor of the first act to keep up. Director Alan Arkin appears near the end to chew scenery as a police officer that's lost his mind; Donald Sutherland is again asked to be funny as a nihilistic minister with a flair for truth-telling and taboo-breaking (see similar casting mistakes in Kelly's Heroes and Start the Revolution Without Me).