91- Catch-22 [8.0]
Haunted by the death of a young gunner, all-too-sane Capt. Yossarian wants out of the rest of his WW II bombing missions, but publicity-obsessed commander Colonel Cathcart and his yes man, Colonel Korn, keep raising the number of missions that Yossarian and his comrades are required to fly.
It’s quite the gargantuan task to adapt Joseph Heller’s Catch-22 into a somewhat sensical narrative, and Mike Nichols succeeds. The sheer insanity of war, the men who seek to profit from it, and the toll taken on a young man’s mind by deadly combat all get explored in this occasionally humorous, but mostly sad film.
Anchored by Alan Arkin’s manic performance as Yossarian, Catch-22 has a big tonal shift in the sobering third act, but it largely works. Though not my favorite cinematic example of war satire (that honor would belong to Dr. Strangelove), I’d like to revisit this adaptation again in the future.