3) Stanley Kubrick
There is no great genius without some touch of madness. This could not be truer when it comes to Stanley Kubrick. His perfectionist almost obsessive trait made it extremely difficult for him to find fellow actors and actresses to work with hence only directing 13 movies despite being a director from the 1950s. His unorthodox method of storytelling allowed for a more in depth study of characters and motive. The stories in his movies often branched out in multiple directions abandoning the conventional linear storytelling.
His attention to detail has been well documented. Often retaking scenes even when it seemed perfect to everyone else. One wrong facial movement that seemed out of sync with the particular scene being filmed – retake. Therefore, tension between crew members and actors were very high. This almost obsessive behavior was not limited to filming it also occurred pre filming. He would read screenplays multiple times, edit and maybe scrap the whole thing.
Moving on from his behavioral trait lets examine some of his work. Why do I place him in my top 3 favorites? When I watch a Stanley Kubrick movie I view it as a documentary there is serious intellectual curiosity integrated with social commentary about the darker side of human ambitions and achievements. His movies painfully dissect these themes creating powerful and impactful cinema experiences. This made him controversial. When making movies of such themes if not done correctly they would simply imply shock factor. That would be considered a work of a less skillful director. I will now briefly discuss my top three Kubrick masterpieces.
The shining (1980)
Every inspiring movie director should watch The Shining. Based on the novel by Stephen King it tells the story of man`s decent into madness at the hand of isolation. Every scene in this movie is shot to perfection a horror masterpiece that maintains its impact 20 plus years on. Everything in this movie has a purpose it all contributes towards the story being told. Essentially the mind is fragile the balance between sanity and insanity is a fine thread. But what could disturb that balance? What could drive someone to commit acts behind rational reasoning? This movie raises such moral questions and does a great job at answering them. Jack Nicholson is terrific I could not think of anyone else who could have played this role with more conviction then him. Fluid storytelling, terrific acting, masterful camera work make this a masterpiece and one that everyone should watch. The eerie atmosphere is maintained throughout the film thanks to still shots and the whistling sound of the wind providing a cold sense of despair. Oh and some of the most unsettling music composition in movie history.
The terrifying moment Jack angrily wields his axe at the toilet door shouting here is Johnny! This scene is perhaps one of the most iconic and recognized scenes in cinema history. The movie is filled with great scenes so I will mention another. The final scene with Jack chasing his son Danny through the hedge maze. It’s disturbing because it is a child who is at risk but also because the maze symbolizes Jacks point of no return at this point in the movie he has lost all hope of being sane. Madness has engulfed his judgement and eventually it is within the maze where he makes his final stop. Confirming the point of no return.
A Orange Clockwork (1971)
One of the more controversial works of Kubrick`s career. The movie uses extreme scenes of violence and immoral behavior in order to portray psychological issues and challenge methods of treatment. Aversion therapy being the main subject of the movies criticism. Like all other Kubrick films symbolism is in plenty and perhaps used to fill in gaps in the story. In what appears to be a movie about gang vandalism and excess testosterone levels during adolescent years. Soon changes into the treatment of such “delinquents”.
During the gangs raids I believe what the movie is portraying is the ability of having free will within society and that people should be entitled to this regardless of how extreme their behavior may be. This perception of total freedom however also has consequences and within any society with a political hierarchy the outcome of these results are responded to accordingly.
In the case of Alex he is put through intensive psychological procedures in order to cleanse his mind and convert him to a law abiding citizen. At the end we notice that the perception of freedom is only an illusion. We see Alex turned into something he is not an empty yet reformed individual who no longer finds pleasure in the things that made him an individual. The movie makes strong statements on psychological issues intertwined with political undertone. Essential watching.
Two words cat lady.
2001: A Space Odyssey (1968)
The Sci-fi genre makes up for some of my favorite movies of all time. Soon I will make a list of my favorite Sci-fi movies. However one movie you will find on top of my list will be 2001: A Space Odyssey. One of the greatest movies ever made and perhaps one of the most influential in regards to the study of A.I and the dangers associated with such technology. It would be unfair to say the movie solely examines this particular issue since its philosophical undertones expands on many spectrum’s in relation to the mystery of life.
I could name countless movies influenced by this excellent feature. The most recent being Ex Machina. The movie studies the origin of life and gradually explores man’s rise to space, through technological advancements. It even touches on the possibility of extraterrestrial life outside of our own planet. However, much of what makes the movie special is that nothing is clear. It is essentially left to the viewer’s imagination in deciphering the story. The film features some of the most iconic movie soundtracks of all time, and one that compliments the mystery and emptiness of space.
The movie based on Arthur C. Clarke’s novel is slightly less clear and more ambiguous. Having read the book, I can confirm much of the story makes sense if you do read the novel.
The moment HAL 9000 the computer controlling the spaceship no longer complies with Dave Bowman’s commands. Illustrating the possibility of artificial intelligence essentially taking control and excising their power over ours.
There you have it folks. Let me know what you think do you agree with this list or perhaps you have differing views do share.