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Author Topic: Barry Lyndon (1975)  (Read 17273 times)
Groggy
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« Reply #30 on: December 03, 2008, 05:49:41 PM »

I checked out the novel from the library today. I'm not sure if I'll have time to read it, but we'll see - if I find it interesting enough I'll make the time.

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« Reply #31 on: December 03, 2008, 11:03:05 PM »

Despite what you mentioned about Kubrick and his deranged fans, I couldn't agree with any of what you wrote about BL Groggy.




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« Reply #32 on: December 04, 2008, 12:13:10 AM »

Oh well.

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« Reply #33 on: December 04, 2008, 05:34:38 AM »

I checked out the novel from the library today. I'm not sure if I'll have time to read it, but we'll see - if I find it interesting enough I'll make the time.
It's pretty amusing as I remember.

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« Reply #34 on: July 27, 2009, 09:23:15 AM »

Well, to tell you the truth I (still) don't know what to think of Barry Lyndon. I re-watched it yesterday in one sip after relatively many years and... same thing as always: it has its moments (portraying the fucked-up Europe, mocking the aristocracy) and it's visually ravishing, but it's empty, there is no essence whatsoever, and no feeling of any kind in it. Paradoxically, Kubrick probably nailed what the dying Europe was at the time, except I don't see for what purpose; he wasn't doing a documentary. The final duel was ironically beautiful, definitely. As a scene in a movie it's overlong, anemic and boring as it is ingenious on paper. That's about it.


6.85 - 7.1 / 10

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« Reply #35 on: July 27, 2009, 09:26:13 AM »

Interesting that you bump this thread. I have it coming from Netflix in the next day or so and I'll be interested to see if I would enjoy it more or still find it a pretty bore.

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« Reply #36 on: July 27, 2009, 09:34:19 AM »

is this after you have read the book or has that not panned out?

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« Reply #37 on: July 27, 2009, 09:35:55 AM »

I don't even know why I watched it, I have at least 10 other films I've never seen waiting near the DVD player, and no free time at hands. It's the heat, probably. I'm always testing myself.

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« Reply #38 on: July 27, 2009, 01:57:12 PM »

is this after you have read the book or has that not panned out?

I got about one hundred pages into it before I found I didn't have enough time to read the whole thing.

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« Reply #39 on: July 27, 2009, 02:21:58 PM »

Well, I took another trip to the Kubrick Well today. Despite my initial lukewarm reception of Barry Lyndon I've been persuaded to rewatch the film as it supposedly improves with repeat viewings. Sadly, this was not the case with me.

As before I really like the first half of the movie, at least through the Ireland and Seven Years' War scenes. They're full of caustic, dry humor, fine performances and great set-pieces (the duel, Arthur O'Sullivan as Captain Feeny, the battle scenes, Barry's encounter with Potzdorf, Barry's decoration, the intro to Lady Lyndon). The supporting cast is uniformly excellent, even those actors I overlooked last time I watched; it's too bad that the film's leads are a bewigged block of wood and a catatonic dress-up doll. The movie starts to slip a bit during the scenes with the Chevalier (the reason given for Barry's defection is horribly unconvincing), encountering narrative drift and the first of many well-composed but interminable scenes consisting of well-dressed people sitting around whilst beautiful music plays on the soundtrack, but it's still watchable, and the act ends on a high note with Frank Middlemass's great scene as Lord Lyndon. I'd give the first half a high 7/10; entertaining and interesting, not truly great perhaps, but worth my time.

The second half of the movie, however, is pretty much unbearable. It's like staring at a painting for seventy minutes and about as satisfying; the great music and visual splendor wears itself out before too long simply because there's nothing of interest going on. There's no emotional connection to the characters, no narrative drive, no interesting story (rather a treacly, insipid soap opera), none of the early parts' humor, no themes worth consideration (the aristocracy of Georgian England weren't nice people? Shocker), no reason at all to give a damn about what's going on onscreen really. Presumably we're supposed to be enraptured by the gorgeous art direction but this only works up to a point. Not to mention, I find the narrator insufferable in the later passages. I will grant I enjoy his snarky commentary on the early segments of the film, but as Barry's life falls apart it just seems cruel and mean-spirited to the extreme. This part of the film is perhaps the strongest argument for Kubrick as anti-humanist cynic. And even that wouldn't bother me that much (who says a filmmaker has to love the characters he portrays?) if something worthwhile were going on! But nothing is! It's redeemed a bit by the wonderful Barry-Bullingdon duel but it ends on as empty and uninteresting a note as it's been chugging along under for the past hour and a half or so.

I feel a need to raise a dissent on the issue of the film's cinematography and art direction. Certainly it's a beautiful film, but it's not a beauty I particularly like. It's an aesthetically distant type of beauty, flat, dull and uninteresting - very pretty, to be sure, but to what end? Kubrick shoots the film with rote camera movements of the sort that the likes of Fred Zinnemann get routinely criticized for. It certainly looks nice but it doesn't amount to much because, not only is much done with it beyond producing an endless series of pretty pictures, for much of the film there's rarely anything interesting going on within the shots themselves. Compared to Lean or Leone or Hitchcock's films, or even Kubrick's own 2001, A Clockwork Orange and The Shining, the cinematography is empty and uninteresting, the kind of stuff that we're supposed to appreciate and admire rather than enjoy. If you enjoy it, power to you, but that does not apply to me. In my opinion, truly great films are both artistically sound and entertaining.

So yeah, I still don't like it. I gave it another shot, and it appealed to me roughly as it did the first time around. I might be generous enough to give the film a bump from a 5 to 6, but that's about it, I fear.

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« Reply #40 on: July 27, 2009, 06:44:40 PM »

In interest of fairness, here's a review one of my IMDB associates gave me.

http://www.visual-memory.co.uk/amk/doc/interview.bl.html

A Leone-interested statement: Kubrick mentions the Handel piece used throughout the film reminded him of Ennio Morricone when played on a guitar.

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« Reply #41 on: July 28, 2009, 03:42:47 AM »

So you are rating Public Enemies as good or better than Barry Lyndon. OK.

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« Reply #42 on: July 28, 2009, 05:56:40 AM »

7 > 5. I'm impressed you can do basic math.

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« Reply #43 on: July 28, 2009, 10:02:25 AM »

I don't love BL either... but at least, it has a script, a nice cinematography and a few great scenes... unlike Public Enemies.

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« Reply #44 on: July 28, 2009, 11:28:06 AM »

And nobody ran through a forest at night so that's always good.

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