Barry Lyndon (PG)

Film

Period and swashbuckler films

Barry Lindon 4.jpg

Time Out rating:

<strong>Rating: </strong><span class='lf-avgRating'>5</span>/5

User ratings:

<strong>Rating: </strong><span class='lf-avgRating'>5</span>/5
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Time Out says

Tue Jan 27 2009

This often breathtaking exploration of the world of Thackeray’s titular eighteenth-century Irish adventurer – showing at the centre of the BFI Southbank’s unmissable two-month Stanley Kubrick season – is the nearest the great director ever came to realising his uppermost ambition, to film a life of Napoleon Bonaparte. Thus all the grand armies, dashing uniforms and suffusion of gunsmoke (here pertaining to the pre-Bonaparte Seven Years’ War). Another kind of smoke pervades the series of lowly Irish farmsteads, elegant brothels and imposing country houses through which the film’s antihero, Redmond Barry (played by then fashionable, fresh-faced hot property Ryan O’Neal), fights, duels, gambles and seduces his way to success and back again – that of a million candles, the natural source of illumination that Kubrick insisted on using, to the astonishment of cinematographer John Alcott, to render authentic interiors.

Despite that, much of the atmosphere, decor, mannerisms and performances are fake (not least the ridiculous turns by Murray Melvin, Leonard Rossiter and the insipid Marisa Berenson) – not that it matters much. It’s not only the beautifully intoned third-person narration (by Michael Horden), the consummate mise-en-scène and stunning photography but the iron-strong confidence of direction that help transform Thackeray’s lively picaresque tale into one of cinema’s most heartfelt and sustained (it runs over three hours), if cynical, visions of an individual’s powerlessness when confronted with the impersonal, mangling machinery of power and fate. What a magnificent, mesmeric slow dance it is, not merely of death but of an ambitious man’s inexorable decline.

A relative failure at the time (1975) – despite Ken Adam’s Oscar for design – it improves with each passing year, although it must take part of the blame for making the immortal strains of Handel’s Sarabande the evergreen Classic FM favourite it is.
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Release details

Rated:

PG

UK release:

Fri Jan 30, 2009

Duration:

187 mins

Cast and crew

Director:

Stanley Kubrick

Cast:

Gay Hamilton, Steven Berkoff, Hardy Krüger, Patrick Magee, Marisa Berenson, Ryan O'Neal, Marie Kean

Music:

Leonard Rosenman

Production Designer:

Ken Adam

Editor:

Tony Lawson

Cinematography:

John Alcott

Screenwriter:

Stanley Kubrick

Producer:

Stanley Kubrick

Cinemas showing Barry Lyndon

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Odeon Wimbledon

The Broadway, London, SW19 1QG Show map/details

  • Address:

    Odeon Wimbledon The Broadway
    London
    SW19 1QG

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  • Mon Jul 28:

    • 19:00

Users say

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<strong>Rating: </strong><span class='lf-avgRating'>0</span>/5

Average User Rating

4.7 / 5

Rating Breakdown

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  • 4 star:1
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LiveReviews|9
1 person listening
robert Gale

love and politics.a movie that you can watch again.a piece of art.They don't make them like they used to

robert Gale

love and politics.a movie that you can watch again.a piece of art.They don't make them like they used to

Gort

Actually I much prefer Fasbinder's film "Effi Briest" which came out a little bit earlier. Both films begin the same with a narration and very cold direction, centered around a person which lived in one of those past periods, but while Fassbinder's film kept his way on exploring drama of the person in the non functioning society, Kubrick's film went on exploring technical limits of cinematography.

Gort

Actually I much prefer Fasbinder's film "Effi Briest" which came out a little bit earlier. Both films begin the same with a narration and very cold direction, centered around a person which lived in one of those past periods, but while Fassbinder's film kept his way on exploring drama of the person in the non functioning society, Kubrick's film went on exploring technical limits of cinematography.

Simon Treves

Glorious languorous trip - as enthralling and bold as 2001. Plus it has one of the most sublime soundtracks in motion picture history.

Simon Treves

Glorious languorous trip - as enthralling and bold as 2001. Plus it has one of the most sublime soundtracks in motion picture history.

BetteDillinger

This film is a definite visual feast for the eyes, and could be enjoyed for that alone. Kubrick's familiar angles and cinematic slights of hand make it even more entertaining. Also, Bach's Sarabande is intoxicating in its intense beauty, which just build climactically throughout the film. Glorious. However, the central character is never truly fleshed out by Ryan O'Neil, and this viewer finds that is the ultimate tragedy of the film. The most intense scenes of drama show a lack of passion from him that is frustrating. If I find myself wondering whom I would cast to replace the lead, I know I am watching a pretty average performance. A masterpiece and required viewing for film students nevertheless. Hey, it's Stanley Kubrick.