Saturday, 6 October 2012

Stanley Kubrick's Films Suck

As a lover of films for most of my life I was indoctrinated into believing that Stanley Kubrick was a genius. There were many examples of his genius; such as "Dr. Strangelove", "2001: A Space Oddyssey", and "A Clockwork Orange". The scope and content of his films cannot be denied as having a huge impact on the artform. These films, and his many others, often push the envelope by introducing us to new forms of filmic storytelling and show us themes and visuals not before seen by the craft. As a result his films are highly memorable and important historically.

So I recognize that Stanley Kubrick has done a lot of great for the film world and yet when I watch his films I'm bored. Really bored.

There are notable performances from his films by George C. Scott, Malcolm McDowell, Jack Nicholson and R. Lee Ermey, and Hal.

The central themes of Stanley Kubrick's films are usually interesting enough: Futuristic gangs, Aliens who spawn mankind, a haunted mansion, the vietnam war and the secret sexual world of the rich & powerful.

So what's the problem?

Having watched his films multiple times I have concluded that the reason his films suck is because of two distinct things: The films are often slow-paced, shot with an almost unmoving camera and the actors performances are like cardboard. Both of these reasons can stem back to one man: Stanley Kubrick.

I really want to love Kubrick. I can see quality in his work. The sad thing about as I get older is that my tolerance for lying to myself diminishes. His films have no heart. They are boring, long-winded stories told by actors in subdued performances. Many of the films have a great premise that is largely lost by the length of the film. The directing is boring, his shots often static and characters emotionless.

It's a shame, really. Because I really, really wanted to like Stanley Kubrick.


  1. I was literally on the edge of my seat in the theater watching "Eyes Wide Shut." The suspense!

    I'd read somewhere that, like many famous directors, Kubrick made the same movie over and over again. That is, he told the same story. I agree. His repeated storyline concerned a man's need for control in his life along with his total inability to get it. Kubrick's pictures showcase and are sensitive to the fragile human condition.

    1. I suppose what I can say about Kubrick's films is that I connect with them on a purely intellectual level. I admire the creativity and the scope of his stories. But they are virtually unwatchable to me. There is nothing that brings me back again and again. I ignored this for many years and trumpeted the usual Kubrick-is-a-genius perspective until finally I aged and stopped bullshitting myself any longer.