Stanley Kubrick: Master of Emotions

The only Kubrick film in my father’s DVD collection was (and still is as I recall) 2001: A Space Odyssey. As a kid I can remember being intrigued by the film because I was seven years old in the year 2001. It just sounded cool and modern. So my dad let me watch it when I was about ten and I just didn’t understand it. As many people have said over the years, “He’s so cold.  He’s so un-emotional.  His films are so long and boring.” Watching 2001 at a young age, there’s no way you can understand it because its themes and message are far too sophisticated for a young mind. But as many of the best films do, it kept me intrigued. I told myself that I would watch it later, when I was older and understand why it is consistently ranked among the best films ever made.

                When I entered University as a film student, 2001 was no longer the only Kubrick film I had seen. I’d seen The Shining one Halloween and I’d found copies of Eyes Wide Shut, Full Metal Jacket, A Clockwork Orange, and Barry Lyndon. I finally grew to appreciate 2001 and I had really loved many of his other films. But first year is when I realized that anyone who thinks Kubrick is emotionless isn’t paying attention. I was watching 2001 and was still fairly bored by the middle stretch, but when Bowman starts his trek to shut down HAL, I started feeling something; I was sad. HAL was pleading with Bowman. HAL was like a small child acting out and Bowman was going to kill him. And as HAL’s voice slowed, I started crying. I finally saw the feeling that many critics had been talking about for years.

                So I started watching his other films again and finally watching the films I hadn’t seen. The laughter and satire of Dr Strangelove and Full Metal Jacket, the blood curdling fear of The Shining, the frightening reality of Clockwork, the utter sadness ofBarry Lyndon, the loneliness and curiosity of Eyes Wide Shut: Kubrick wasn’t emotionless; he was the master of emotions. If you bought into his world, he would make you confront the feelings we would all rather ignore. 

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