re-rating. One of the most monotonously repeated axioms in film concerns Kubrick's supposed genius, a filmmaker that from the totalitarian "2001", dedicated himself to do "definitive" genre films. This is The Historical, full of writing's pleonasms and self-inflate uneven reframing zooms, with a matte light loaded with shine. On top, an omnipresent soundtrack in search of the prestigious. Academicism, where art thou?
The loneliness of the long distance social climber, circa the madness of King George, is rendered against classically Kubrickian tableaux of frozen splendor, as sumptuous as any the director ever produced, but no less frigid for it. This is brutally psychology-free history, rich in its variations on venal ambition and preposterous affectation, emphatically emptied out of meaning and consolation.
In what is perhaps my favorite of his work, Kubrick paints a touching, but objective, canvas of 18th Century European society and it's relation, or lack there of, with life and death. This was the first time I noticed how Kubrick's style, despite how Avant-garde it may seem, is deeply routed in silent cinema as exemplified by his use of music as a complement rather than as it's own element. A Melancholic masterpiece.
Doesn't get as much love as it deserves. Excluding his films with Peter Sellers and the first half of FMJ, this is one of Kubrick's funniest films IMHO (funny in a deadpan way like in parts of Cohen bros films that aren't technically comedies). As far as period detail, I like to think Kubrick boned up on Visconti's historical films before taking this on.
Kubrick's best as a storyteller. As a costume drama, the film is similar to Amadeus with its cinematography and music. O'Neal's Lyndon performance is surprisingly unique. I wish it could tell Ludwig's story.
Episodic, detached, and experimental. Kubrick's approach is a unique one that offers a new experience. It does not idealize the time period, as some films have, but offers a rather objective view of Barry Lyndon's life. There are moments that surprise simply because one would never imagine a fight between two gentlemen in full costume in front of 18th c. nobility. It's cold, but affecting.
I love many of Kubrick's film, but Barry Lyndon seems to me a film constantly weighed down by its quest for pictorial perfection. Whenever I watch it, I can always see tense crew members just out of shot in this, the umpteenth take, chewing their nails hoping "*please* this time, please nothing go wrong". I don't think films should be like that.
This is going to look absolutely amazing when the new transfer is on bluray. For a number of reasons, for it being given the proper aspect ratio and the amount of detail that is there due to the lenses. With the special lenses used specifically for Barry Lyndon, developed by Nasa Kubrick was able to light using only candles for instance and have virtually no depth of field. This will look phenomonal.