Thursday, January 2, 2014


I always enjoy sitting down to a Kubrick Film.  I know the guy died in 99, he didn’t have a ton of movies, well not even 20, more like 16, but the man made you think he forced you to pay attention.  He slipped little thing into his movies.  I just recently watched Dr. Strangelove; or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb, which was a very interesting movie, as most of Kubrick’s are.  It did not really feel like I was watching a Kubrick film to be honest, but it was good.  Most of us are more familiar with 2001: A Space Odyssey, A Clockwork Orange, or his version of The Shining.  Now I am not one for doing movie reviews, or telling the life story of another.  Kubrick’s work does not need that outside of the gentle suggesting that you watch his works.  The man played tricks on us, every detail of every movie was planned out, every detail was shot and reshot until it was exactly the way he wanted it, a place for everything and everything in its place.  He dropped subtle hints, or outright brow beat us.  Changing typewriters and a crushed VW Bug (Read King’s The Shining and then watch Kubrick’s telling). 

Sure, the bulk of his works are based on novels, but he made them his own, even if the authors wanted to string him up by his gonads.  Actors did not like to work with him, he was such an ass to Duvall that she was not acting out of fear in The Shining, she really was scared, brought about by frustration (constant reshooting of her scenes), and the fact that Kubrick constantly pushed her.  Scott refused to work with him, because Kubrick was underhanded in his methods.  He did whatever it took to get the most out of the actors.  Even if it meant shooting the same scene 60 times in a row, he wanted perfection, or as close as he could get with the budget he was working with.  He was also twisted, we see it with A Clockwork Orange, and while he was not a fan of adlibbing, he would on occasion listen to the actors.  Singing in the Rain was not originally part of A Clockwork Orange, it was suggested by McDowell, and after running the scene with McDowell singing it, Kubrick went and bought the rights for the song. 

With Kubrick’s work, most of it anyway, there is always something more, you can watch one of his movies several times, and see something different, an added element that slipped your attention the previous viewings, and those elements throw a new meaning into the mix.  Watch the Shining and tell me that it doesn’t scream genocide.  Watch 2001, and say that it isn’t railing against becoming too dependent on technology, or something simpler like learning to come together in peace, even if our goals are different.  He wanted us to think about his movies as more than a story, he wanted us to see if we could understand the messages he was giving us.  There is no right or wrong answers when it comes to Kubrick.  And if you think you can’t enjoy his works because they tend to be very deep, you are mistaken, you can still watch his movies, miss all the subtle messages he sends you, and still enjoy the movie, but the experience is drastically different when you pay attention to the small details.