This film is probably overlooked by two of Stanley Kubricks more famous films that sandwich it, these films are, A Clockwork Orange (1971) and The Shining (1980). These two films are just regarded as cult classics today, I had never heard of "Barry Lyndon" till I. bought a DVD box set of Stanley Kubricks films. All I can say is wow its such a shame this isn't up there with the other two, it proves that Stanley Kubrick could write screenplays and direct anything he got his hands on.
This film is based on a novel called "The Luck of Barry Lyndon", like
the novel it follows an 18th century Irish man played by Ryan O'Neal
(surely the role of his life). The film follows his rise from been a
nobody on the run from the law to getting married into Nobility. Unfortunately his success doesn't come from a genuine way of hard work,
he lies, cheats and gambles his way to getting noticed, and eventually
finds the power he craves by marring a Noble woman.
We follow his Journey through the 7 year war in Europe, where he keeps
trying to run away, he's a bit of a coward to be honest. We see him rise
through the ranks in Europe, how he sets himself after the war and so
on. He doesn't care who he uses he just wants to get to the top. Just
like Scarface (1983) his ego gets the better of him and his past catches
up with him, we see the only way from the top is to fall back down, It
is such a brilliant movie.
Stanley Kubrick used such locations as Castle Howard to film in to make
it authentic as possible. The outside camera shots are just beautiful,
we see Europe, the Castles the countryside just shot so beautifully its
typical Kubrick cinema made for your eyes (like I said with 2001 A Space
Odyssey), the Interior shots are also a sight for your eyes, all the
light coming from candles dotted everywhere, shedding just enough light on these scenes. It takes us straight into the
18th Century, Kubrick always liked a touch to detail and here he shows
us hes trying to get everything right.
The Costumes are brilliant, we have the Red and Blue coats of the
various armies in battle in Europe, the wigs and grandeur of the
clothing of the European Nobility its just beautiful to be hold. I love
movies that show a person going through their life with the ups and
downs that go with it, at first I was so absorbed in the character of
Barry hoping he could just get away and become a success, but when he is
so horrible to the people around him that he should have love for (his
wife and stepson) we can't help but hate him its wonderful, how a
character can change and be believable. My only gripe is Ryan O'Neal's accent comes and goes but hey its just a small gripe. I'm so glad I have taken time to
discover Mr Kubrick and his pure brilliant movies.