Slowly, my Kubrick-film-feast is going to an end... Having watched all sixteen feature and short films of the late director, I feel full of knowledge and enlightenment. That doesn't mean I loved or even liked all of his films - but we'll dive further into that matter when I write my big, grand Kubrick Post with a capital P. All you're going to get for now is three short reviews of my last three Kubrick-adventures, one that disappointed me and two that are officially on the list of my favorite Kubrick-opuses.
Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb(1964)
„THE COMPUTERS THAT TAKE THE SITUATION BEYOND HUMAN INTERVENTION HAVE ONLY BECOME MORE CAPABLE. BE AFRAID. BE VERY AFRAID.“
The one that disappointed me. Dr. Strangelove should've been the right comedy for me, it really had all the requirements - politics, satire, craziness, quirkyness... But it ended up being just a tad too... don't know whether people are going to kill me for these words but... slapstick? Yeah, I mean, I laughed or at least smiled a lot of times - my favorite scenes where the calls to Dimitri, hilarious - but really? A weird doctor who has to keep his hand from performing the Heil-sign? Really? I don't know whether I'm being hyper-sensitive as a German, but I don't think that kind of humor is really funny. The German professor in Lolita was kinda funny, but this one, I mean not even the accent was realistic.Also, the last scene with the bomb detonating was not funny either - I know it was just meant to be ironic, the way the guy clutches the bomb etc., and the prologue shots of atomic bombs were of course critical and satirical ones (a segment I liked) but I just didn't like the shot of the officer jumping out of the plane. Dr. Strangelove is a movie that just didn't really work for me. But I should be getting used to that, considering my WTF-THAT-KINDA-COOL-BUT-STILL-NOT-REALLY-SPECIAL-BEN-AFFLECK-FILM(loved his looks in this one)-WON-A-GOLDEN-GLOBE-FOR-BEST-MOTION-PICTURE-DRAMA!!!!????-reaction just a few minutes ago.
Full Metal Jacket (1987)
„FULL METAL JACKET IS RUTHLESS, COMIC, HORRIFIC, AND AFFECTING IN EQUAL MEASURE.“
There's really not much to ad to that quote. War films are definitely not one of my favorite genres (I know I said that about sci-fi too about a year ago), but Full Metal Jacket is a full exception. Whether it's the first half with its soldier training - a lot of screaming-at-each-other going on here - or the second half in the actual Vietnam war, the film is suspenseful, repulsive and philosophic at all times. Kubrick really got better and better at mixing incomparable style (three words: Paint It, Black) and engaging observation and analysis of the human psyche, which makes out a huge part of what makes him one of my favorite directors. Reading about Kubrick's worry about the advanced release of Platoon when news about Full Metal Jacket leaked is like a joke for me, someone who didn't live at that time. I haven't seen Platoon yet, but however good it may be, it won't be able to change the greatness of this one.
Eyes Wide Shut (1999)
This is another daring statement perhaps, but after having seen this movie, I'm thinking whether it might actually be my favorite Kubrick film instead of 2001. But then again, it's been quite a while since I saw that one, so until now it's a tie. Honestly, I don't understand how Eyes Wide Shut can be one Kubrick's most-discussed movies in matter of "quality". To me, it's a hundred times better than say, Dr. Strangelove.Are the sexual tension, the good-looking hero and the prominent female character the reasons for my euphoria? Perhaps so. These are all ingredients that I have found in no other Kubrick film, or at least not in this measure. As for the first, there was something in Lolita but it was pervert in a way (or many ways) and of course A Clockwork Orange, but that was mainly scary and far away from the viewer. In Eyes Wide Shut, the tension is present in every single frame, and it draws the viewer as well as the characters into a deep labyrinth of forbidden desire and white lies.The good-looking hero is played by the good-looking Tom Cruise - an actor whom I have problems sympathizing with as a person, but who has been great in every film I've seen yet. This however was his best performance by far, from my personal experience. Kubrick did have handsome actors in his other films, but nobody ever pushed it as far as Cruise.And finally, the female character. Not even here does Kidman's Alice become the "main character" in a traditional measure, but she is the reason for the whole story. She is the cause for all of the worries Bill suddenly develops - and of course, all his never-before felt jealousy. And she's also the person that finishes Kubrick's last film ever, with a line that will be remembered forever: "Fuck". Perfection.