‘Barry Lyndon’: A Sheer Masterpiece

There have been plenty of great movie directors over the years; David Lean, the genius behind an epic like Lawrence of Arabia and the rarely seen look at Japan’s role in World War II in The Bridge on the River Kwai, Steven Spielberg, the movie making mogul who brought us the unforgettable likes of Jaws and Jurassic Park, Christopher Nolan, a man who makes whatever movie he wants to make no matter how out there it may be, Bong-Joon Ho, the mad scientist of a movie whiz whose films never fail to impress, and Spike Lee, the director who is not afraid to show the power of blackness and how beautiful our stories can be. And then there’s Stanley Kubrick.

My first foray into Kubrick’s immersive world was via The Shining, a film that still scares the heck out of me to this day. As a little girl, I would simply hear the ghost twin girls and began to start getting weepy. As an adult, I hear the iconic shrill ring of The Shining and begin to sweat. It was from my traumatic experiences watching and listening to The Shining three times in my life that I have understood how amazing Kubrick is at making movies.

The second film I watched of his that utterly blew my mind was 2001: A Space Odyssey. I had heard of the movie but never was inclined to watch it until about a year ago where I was surprised to discover that the actual film wasn’t made in 2001. Lol. In short, the movie blew my mind. It was science-fiction at its finest; a crowning achievement in visual effects and storytelling for the genre that still hasn’t been dethroned, in my opinion, to this day. Not even Nolan’s Interstellar could compare with the sheer brilliance of 2001: A Space Odyssey. But, in classic Kubrick fashion, I got a bit freaked out at the movie’s last thirty minutes and couldn’t finish the movie.

So, here today I watched my third Kubrick movie: Barry Lyndon. I would never have watched this film if not for HBO Max recommending it in their Turner Classic Movies section. I saw that it was directed by Kubrick, I discovered that it had a promising rating of 8.1/10 stars on IMDb, and I saw that it was 3 hours. I figured, “What the heck. Let me see what this is all about.”

As soon as the movie turned on and I watched its opening minutes I knew this would be a film I would never forget. I was lost in Europe for three hours, taken on an immersive journey with an Irish man named Redmond Barry whose grand story never ceased to amaze.

Barry Lyndon: Time Regained | The Current | The Criterion Collection

This sweeping romantic epic left me spellbound for hours and when it concluded I clapped. It was perfect. Perfect I tell you! Every scene, every shot, every use of music, it was stunning. It was like watching a play, or reading the finest book you’ve ever read, play out onscreen. Even though One Flew Over a Cuckoo’s Nest was pretty fantastic (and deserved Best Picture) Barry Lyndon was the better of the two films in my opinion.

It’s long, yes, and it’s slow, that is true, but it was beautiful. Literally beautiful.

All in all, I’m so glad I watched it and now I have to show my sister. 😁

I’m giving this movie 100 out of 100 and 5 out of 5 stars. If you ever have the chance check it out for yourself. It’s worth it.

I thank you for reading and I hope you have a fantastic day.

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