Synopsis – An Irish rogue wins the heart of a rich widow and assumes her dead husband’s aristocratic position in 18th-century England – Barry Lyndon
Director – Stanley Kubrick
Released – 1975
Some movies, I wish there were more like them to enjoy, be it a great story, an interesting idea or like in the case of Barry Lyndon, it’s the look that makes the movie such a delight to behold and for that, we have Director Stanley Kubrick and Photographer John Alcott to thank for making a movie that at times feels like a succession of great paintings brought life and despite clocking in at three hours, there are so many wonderful shots to admire in addition to the lavish and authentic costumes and nuances well-developed story that you find yourself wishing the story was longer.
Some have told me how long and boring Barry Lyndon was, but to say I enjoyed this movie is an understatement. In fact, I would rank this movie higher than some of Kubrick’s better-known and highly regarded movies. As someone who hasn’t read the book, I can’t say how close to the source material Kubrick stuck, but what I can say is it’s clear he poured his heart and soul into this story of class and destiny. And just like with his other works, repeat viewing will give up another secret, spawn another theory and grow your admiration further, after all, Kurbric loved adding layer upon layer when it came to his plots and the story of Barry, a young Irish man who works his way up the Britsh aristocracy with the help of powerful friends and more than a little luck is a story that lends itself perfectly to complex filmmaking and Kubric is the perfect director to accomplish this without the movie feeling convoluted or unduly long.
The movie also wouldn’t have worked if it wasn’t for an excellent central performance by Ryan O’Neil who impressed me greatly and I found it a surprise that reviews of the time weren’t as complimentary. Sure, there’s no way to know if another actor could have done a better job, but I found his portrayal filled with the perfect amount of dignity and depth required from such a complex character.
Overall, Barry Lyndon is a vast epic that requires repeat viewings on the biggest possible screen to fully experience the majesty of this picture. Nowadays, we do not get to see films like this, films where excellent technical skills and cinematography are just as important as the plot and acting, films that bridge the gap between filmmaking and art in a way that might not be the most profitable, but will capture your imagination in a way that the rinse and repeat blockbusters of today never can. Truly one of the most beautiful movies of all time and must watch for any film fan.