Saturday, July 10, 2004

Review – Barry Lyndon

This is a visually stunning, technically brilliant, virtually unwatchable movie. If memory serves, this is the first big budget drama ever shot with film stock so sensitive that the whole thing was done with available light. Combine that with Stanley Kubrick’s natural gift for shot composition, and you get some of the most impressive images ever incorporated into a motion picture. Getting the Chieftains to do the soundtrack didn’t exactly hurt, either. Unfortunately, it almost seems like Kubrick decided that he didn’t want plot or character to interfere with his technical genius. So he employed his talent to make a movie out of a dreary old Thackery novel, a story so vastly uninteresting that it wouldn’t sustain a production half as long as this three hour monster. The acting is of similarly dubious quality; if nothing else, Ryan O’Neil is better suited to movies in which a young Drew Barrymore wants to divorce both her parents than to Napoleonic costume drama (especially given his inability to maintain a consistent accent). Thus while I admire the skill involved, there’s just no getting around the fact that no matter how beautiful it may be, minute after endless minute of watching British aristocrats pay their bills just doesn’t make a good movie. See if desperate

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