Either you Care or Not
By Thomas Mariner
from Sherborne, UK
, 08 Jul 2004
?Either you care or you don?t care? is the unambiguous quote attributed to Stanley Kubrick by his wife, Christiane, at the end of this comprehensive overview of his life?s work in cinema. It is this slogan-like remark that sums up this great artist?s canon of work that was in its parts classifiable, sci-fi, period-piece, horror etc., but in its whole a unique genre of its own. A Stanley Kubrick Film.
Although, this film does not run long enough to provide a detailed analysis of Kubrick?s approach ? how long would a film like that be? How long you got? It does, through deft timing and apposite sound-bites, provide a clear picture of his artistic achievement while noting, sadly, for him and for us, that Kubrick?s greatest regret was that he had not made more films.
Kubrick?s career is set out in chronological fashion. From being an ace photographer on the streets of New York, through his first self-funded efforts at film-making, to his Hollywood breakthrough with Spartacus and from there to the rump of his work made while living in England. The interviews are interesting and insightful and manage to stay away, for the most part, from the ?when Stanley met me,? anecdotes that often plague these type of bio-docs. Granted, they can be entertaining but very rarely are they revealing. Contrast those sort of anodyne comments with Nicole Kidman?s edifying remark that Kubrick had real and significant power as a director because he had the most powerful thing of all ? time. Time to do the shot or scene over and over again until it was thoroughly explored and totally right. Of course, this level of meticulousness was probably a lot more than a lot of people could take and this film?s acknowledgement of this double-edged sword of a character attribute stops it from becoming a complete hagiography.
Kubrick?s private life, as Kubrick would have wished, remains largely private. Though the apects that are revealed are approprate and consistent with those attributes he exhibited as an artist. Loyalty, integrity and attention to detail - 32 pages of notes left for the house minder at the start of a family trip, any psychologist out there wish to comment? Or am I just a slob to leave a note for the milkman?
Where this film really scores is in showing clips from each of his films and demonstrating that through his breadth of subject matter, almost in spite of its immense variety, there stood an artist with a very clear notion of the power and the beauty that could be wrested from the shimmering frames of a cinema screen. It is an aide-memoir to his achievement and is just about successful enough to enable the viewer to hold in their mind for a brief while the immense scope of Stanley Kubrick?s work.
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