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Monday, 18 October 2010

Stanley Kubrick A Life In Pictures

Stanley Kubrick a Life in Pictures
This is my first review for a documentary so I’m not exactly sure how to go about it, but I’ll try my best.

This documentary shows us the life of the great director Stanley Kubrick through a collection of photographs taken by his family and friends from his early years in Brooklyn until his death at his house in England. The documentary looks at each of the directors films in detail and much is learnt about how Kubrick worked but also how he was as a person. 

So, as can be expected, the documentary is largely complementary of Kubrick and devotes a considerable (but not overwhelming) amount of time to the often forgotten or unseen side of the man, that of a loving family man and a highly capable colleague. It features interviews of his wife and children, his long time colleagues such as his executive producer (who also directed this documentary) Jan Harlan, actors, writers and composers he worked with over the years, and of course his admirers such as Woody Allen and Martin Scorsese.
All these interviews are perfectly placed throughout the film, never focusing too long on one single person. In fact the whole doc is extremely well put together, the unseen before photos are scattered throughout with great timing, the use of music and the change of moods in the doc are very well done. This is a documentary done with massive amounts of love and admiration for the man and if by the end you don’t feel inspired and full of admiration for a great director you probably shouldn’t have started watching this in the first place.

The way I viewed Kubrick has been changed forever after seeing this documentary, and I think that was one of the main goals of the creators, to dispel certain myths and legends that have accumulated over the years due to Kubrick’s reclusive nature. I think Kubrick’s reclusive nature caused him to become one of the most misunderstood directors ever, he is often labelled a perfectionist, a control freak or even tyrannical on set as well as being called reclusive, misogynistic, even insane… This documentary spends time showing how all most of these terms were greatly exaggerated or even entirely false and how pained Kubrick was at being so misunderstood.
Actors who worked with him say he allowed them considerable freedom of improvisation over the scenes even if he did many, many takes. His family and friends claim he never raised his voice. Basically he was much loved by all those he worked with and by his family and certainly wasn’t the sort of director the press made him out to be, he tried hard to make his films enjoyable to watch and was saddened when they weren’t successful (like Barry Lyndon), he didn’t make those films for himself but for the public whom he loved and who continue to love him.

Overall this is a very well made documentary that contains many interesting, amusing and fascinating facts about the visionary director, but also holds up very well as a work of it’s own.

Highly recommended to all fans of Stanley Kubrick, this is the definite documentary on that great director and should be seen by all of his fans as it presents the man in a very different light than what we are used too.
I’ve tried to keep this review short and have purposely not revealed many of the interesting tales told in this documentary, but you really should all watch it as it’s incredibly informative yet very well made…

Rating:::::: 100% (one of the best docs I've seen)