Thursday, June 7, 2007

Barry Lyndon (1975)

Directed by Stanley Kubrick. Starring Ryan O'Neal and Marisa Berenson.

This has a reputation for being one of Kubrick's most difficult films, but I think it's one of his best. O'Neal stars, in a surprisingly deep performance, as an ambitious Irishman who aspires to the British nobility. He first becomes a soldier, then a gambler, before catching the eye of a beautiful upper-class woman (Berenson). The first half of the film shows his rise, and the second half charts his fall, and Kubrick films everything in a way that captures the maximum amount of sterile beauty. Most reviews of BARRY LYNDON single out John Alcott's glorious cinematography, and rightly so- every shot in the film could be framed and mounted on a wall. But it's the seemingly distanced style Kubrick utilizes that gives the film its power. As humans, the film says, we set goals for our lives, we aspire to more than we currently have, but it's ultimately out of our hands, and we all must have the same end. A sobering message, to be sure, but an effective one.

No comments: