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92 Barry Lyndon 
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Post 92 Barry Lyndon
Need comments on Kubrick's film

Tue Jul 21, 2009 11:35 am
Post "Barry Lyndon"
“Barry Lyndon” (1975)*

Set in the mid-through-late-1800’s, Stanley Kubrick’s “Barry Lyndon” follows Irishman Redmond Barry (Ryan O’Neal) through his life’s climb and fall. Prior to meeting our anti-hero, the narrator informs us that Redmond’s father was killed in a duel. ‘Duels’ will become a recurring element of Barry’s life. When we finally meet Barry, he is involved in a moment of intimacy with his cousin. For her, its just play, but for him she has become his first love. He challenges her suitor to a duel, which he ‘wins’, and must now flee the law. Barry becomes a soldier in the King’s forces and sees action before attempting desertion by impersonating an officer relaying a message. His plan is foiled by a Prussian officer who offers a choice: join the Prussian army or be returned for punishment. He deceives and befriends his way to the top and soon finds himself in a life of luxury, financed by illicit gambling.
Enter the Lyndon’s: the sickly patriarch, his radiant wife, a son and a mass of wealth. To Barry, the wife and wealth are possessions he must have, and upon the near-immediate death of the husband, takes both into his loveless life. The lifestyle and the son will lead to his ultimate undoing. Synopsizing this story without spoilers and length proves challenging.
Barry’s decisions and actions are admirable and pitiful at the same time. Seeing his next predicament and resolution doesn’t bring a viewer joy, but remains powerful enough to evoke a curious pathos. Use of an external narrator –usually a detriment- serves the material well. I enjoyed “Lyndon” more than any previous Kubrick work I’ve seen and would recommend it as some of his more accessible. Kubrick’s ‘touch’, if there is one, is his choice of material rather than his presentation. –Fictitious 19th century Irish incestuous vagabond fumbles, cheats and duels his way to the top where his fumbling, cheating and dueling cause his downfall… Really?
Yes. It works.

Awf Hand gives 4 out of 4 stars, adding that “Lyndon”, while appearing slightly dated in technique, defies convention and provides arresting storytelling.

*Time Magazine top 100 films of all time.

Wed Oct 20, 2010 8:20 am
Post Re: "Barry Lyndon"
I agree that Barry Lyndon is a fantastic movie, but strongly disagree with the notion that it is in any way dated in technique. The look of the film is certainly different from most films, because much of it (all of it?) has been filmed using natural light sources only, even if candles provide the only source of lighting. Also, Kubrick tries to make each image look like a painting (I believe some scenes are representations of actual oil paintings) and he succeeds admirably. I also think that Barry Lyndon shows a lot of Kubrick ‘touches’, such as a certain detachment from the humanity of the characters.

Wed Oct 20, 2010 9:11 am
Post Re: "Barry Lyndon"
I don't think it's dated, either, mainly because the technique of Barry Lyndon is so unique that it can't really be tied to any specific period in film.

I do think that certain late 1960s/early 1970s directors--mainly the ones forgotten by time--abused the zoom lens in their fervor for experimentation, and it usually ended up looking tacky. In that sense, maybe Barry Lyndon resembles movies of that time. But it's a superficial resemblance. Kubrick's use of the zoom lens not only serves a strong purpose, but is actually crucial to the entire movie.

Wed Oct 20, 2010 1:29 pm
Post Re: "Barry Lyndon"
Interesting, I was bored by Barry Lyndon the first time I saw it and each subsequent viewing has opened my eyes further.

For anyone into photography, Kubrick got hold of an f0.7 lens to enable him to shoot by candlelight.

I love the film these days and think it might be a little cold, but it's a great work of art


Wed Oct 20, 2010 4:11 pm
Post Re: "Barry Lyndon"
It was my opinion that the techniques in framing and lighting, as natural and as enjoyable as they may be, have the same feel of a Masterpiece Theater presentation made between 1971 and the early 1980's, during which I was a captive viewer.
I'd not looked at anything other than the title of the movie (no synopsis either) for my viewing and 'guessed' is to be mid-70's. As I was not familiar with Ryan O' Neil or his era of work and my guess was made based on the observed technique, I either was lucky or was seeing something familiar to that period of period work.
I hold the opinion that the technique on display in "Barry Lyndon" could be recognized by someone unfamiliar with it as being that of mid 1970's.

Wed Oct 20, 2010 4:24 pm
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