Running Time: 184 minutes
Directed By: Stanley Kubrick
Written By: Stanley Kubrick, from novel by William Makepeace Thackeray
Main Cast: Ryan O'Neal, Marisa Berenson, Patrick Magee, Hardy Kruger, Gay Hamilton
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KUBRICK WEEK: CHAPTER VII
It just goes to show you that the one you dread the most will sometimes end up being the one you love the most. I was sincerely dreading watching "Barry Lyndon", an eighteenth century period piece lasting just a scosche over three hours. But low and behold "Barry Lyndon" actually ended up being, perhaps, my favorite Kubrick movie thus far.
I used to be an ignorant movie goer, picking and choosing my movies based on what they were about, when they were set and what genre they fell into. For instance, I would dismiss certain films simply because they were set in the 18th century and I "surely wasn't going to like anything like that". If I looked at the back of a VHS case or watched a trailer and saw some of those "British guys" dressed in their stylish, powder white wigs and dressed to the nines in corsets and proper wear, my hand would immediately move that VHS case back to the shelf or I'd turn away from that movie trailer. In watching films for THE BOOK, I've been able to really broaden my spectrum and I've learned to enjoy all types of film, with "Barry Lyndon" being a particularly surprising entry.
The other two x-factors are the cinematography and the score. John Alcott, who shot this film (as well as "2001: A Space Odyssey", "A Clockwork Orange" and my next film, "The Shining") is an absolute master craftsman when it comes to working his camera, capturing memorable images and using natural lighting to it's fullest capabilities. From the opening shot, which shows Barry's father engaged in a duel with someone he's quarreling with over a disputed horse sale, I knew this film wasn't going to be bad. The shot just appealed to me. It's like walking into a party, a party where you expect to have rotten time because you don't know anyone there, and running into your best friend. The opening shot is inviting and seems to let you know that this isn't just any old run of the mill film, that it's going to be something really special, something where you're not going to want to blink, for fear of missing another glorious shot. Add that to the absolutely mesmerizing, hypnotizing and engaging score and you have the makings of a masterpiece, which is what "Barry Lyndon" is. The score here is so catchy, that it sticks in your head well after the credits have rolled and as you play it over and over in your head, hearing those beautiful instruments sing their grim tune, you begin to relive some of the more intense moments of the film, be it the duel between Barry and Lord Bullingdon or the death of Bryan Lyndon. Of course, I'm speaking of the main title theme for the film, but really all the music is spot on, featuring classical pieces from the likes of Vivaldi and Bach.
RATING: 9.5/10 I can't go the full blown '10' because I'm really becoming a picky son of a bitch in my old age, but don't let the '9.5' fool 'ya, "Barry Lyndon" is a freaking masterpiece and for the time being, this is your #1 entrant on the next TOP 20. Next up in "Kubrick Week": "The Shining".
MOVIES WATCHED: 511
MOVIES LEFT TO WATCH: 490
August 27, 2012 3:04am