So I finally saw Stanley Kubrick's BARRY LYNDON and it was really enjoyable!  For a 3-hour costume period drama, I wasn't expecting to as much as I did!  Granted, I did watch it in a few segments.  And, like 2001, which I also re-watched recently, it has an intermission.  (I wish that was still a thing they did for longer movies).  It's hard to know whether the "Kubrick" factor was the big part of my enjoyment of the film--it did really feel like one of his films--but I do know that the story was compelling, the acting great, and the cinematography beautiful.  I had heard that most of the film, if not all of it, was shot using just natural and candle light, and it is very evident.  I myself am definitely a fan of using natural and available light, and in a period film like this, set in the 1770s, I find that the shadow of artificial movie lighting can really distract me and take me out of the story.  Instead, here we have gorgeous scenes where huge swaths of light stream in through tall palace windows, or gentle afternoon sunlight filters through the trees in a forest.  Kubrick was also said to be influenced heavily by the paintings of the era, and it is very evident.  There are many shots that I'm sure must be direct references to works of art, and the composition of a lot of scenes look quite art-like, with couples placed conveniently in corners of the frame having discussions, or maybe a sheep dog lying lazily in the foreground, a small group of people out rowing in a pond, or maybe a drunk luxuriating on a couch with his hat pulled over his eyes.  Aside from the technical and Kubrick-based aspects I like, I found myself really enjoying the story as well, which is never a bad thing in a film this length.  It follows Redmond Barry (Ryan O'Neal), an Irish lad who basically, through adventure and misadventure, winds up working his way up the ladder of European aristocracy.  He is a likeable character, but not without faults, and O'Neal was wonderful taking him through the years from naive country boy, to aged aristocrat.  So, if you have seen Kubrick's films and enjoy his style, his tracking shots, his occasional zooms, and his precise composition, then this is definitely recommended viewing.  It also won four Oscars, for, not surprisingly, Cinematography, Costume Design, Art Direction, and Musical Score.  Kubrick himself was nominated for Best Director, Best Picture, and Best Adapted Screenplay.  If you've never seen a Kubrick film before, maybe don't start with this, start with FULL METAL JACKET, CLOCKWORK ORANGE, or even THE SHINING, but if you are an avid filmgoer with a passion for beautiful composition in your shots, then this, I have a feeling, you will enjoy!

Kubrick on set.

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