Sorry for the unexpected break in Kubrick Week , readers. We bravely committed to finishing the film Barry Lyndon in one night. At 11:30 PM - well past my adult bed time - the word “Intermission” flashed on the screen and completely demoralized us. We had to skip a night and finish it the following night.
I learned something about Kubrick. I thought he only did demented stuff. But I report to you that Barry Lyndon was long, beautiful, and totally PG. No murders, sex cults, or dystopia. I learned that Kubrick had the capacity to be very normal. I got a sense that this was his nod to the academy.
Part 1 of the movie was called By What Means Redmond Barry Acquired the Style and Title of Barry Lyndon . I like to refer to it as Barry shoots a guy in the face . I don’t mean to ruin it, but this guy named Barry really does shoot a guy in the face. More specifically, it’s a British general that’s in love with his cousin. Barry kills him in a duel and flees the country. He deserts two armies and marries a rich lady, assuming her wealth and status.
Part 2 is a classic obsession-driven downward spiral. He antagonizes his eldest step son by doting on his youngest son. The youngest son dies and Barry drinks himself silly. The eldest son returns to challenge his father to a gun duel and - pause for irony - Barry totally gets shot.
I will say that for how long this movie was, it moved at a decent clip. For a guy that gets antsy in Lord of the Rings, I was really surprised with myself that I made it through a three hour long movie set during the Seven Years War. Before today, even just saying the word “Prussia” made me yawn.
It’s a story of luck, obsession, and rich person douchebaggery. Luck was clearly an important part of the story. Barry was a professional gambler and, taking the odd events that lead to his rising status for granted, fell into the gambler’s fallacy and lost it all.
Albeit long, this movie was a real palette cleanser. If you are into the Pride and Prejudice scene and you have a whole afternoon to kill, give Barry Lyndon a shot (in the face).
I have to be honest, I don’t have any extensive analytical theories about this movie. As we were watching Barry Lyndon I was searching and searching for some hidden meaning or some odd unexpected conclusions. After watching about half the movie I realized that Barry Lyndon is just a solid, well- written, intriguing early historic tale of a young man. It follow him from his first love to late in his life. The movie is three hours long, so when I say that it follows his life, I mean it. Alex and I did have to watch the movie in two sittings (sorry for the late post!) but after watching both parts of the movie, we were again pleased with another Kubrick film. My one comment regarding the movie is that it (like many other films) follows the unexpectedness of events in life. Especially after having graduated from college you think that you have every step of your life planned out for you. The truth is that we never know what the next step in life will truly be. In Barry Lyndon this point is well exaggerated as the main character Barry goes from one side of a war to another and from poverty to royalty. Overall this movie is a particularly good film to sit down and watch with a good meal, a good drink, and good company. I would give Barry Lyndon a 7.5/10. I would go higher up, but personally it was a bit dry, but what can you expect from a movie made in the 70’s!
Overall this movie is a particularly good film to sit down and watch with a good meal, a good drink, and good company.