Barry Lyndon (PG)
Friday 30 January 2009
First released in 1975, and now showing at the BFI, this is Kubrick's most beautiful movie, and his most touching.
Based on Thackeray's satirical novel, it recounts the adventures of a scapegrace Irishman, Redmond Barry (Ryan O'Neal), who flees his native land and falls into the Seven Years' War, soldiering first for the British, then for the Prussians. He becomes a police spy, then a roving gambler, then – his ultimate triumph – the husband of a passive English noblewoman, the Countess Lyndon (Marisa Berenson), who bears him a son. Kubrick indulges his love of tableaux, many of them rather glassy and fish-eyed, yet there is (surprisingly for him) a delicate strain of human feeling, such as the kiss Barry plants on his dying patron during battle, and a deathbed scene that would move a stone.
Marisa Berenson, pretty as a Gainsborough, and Leonard Rossiter, as Barry's early romantic rival, are among a fine supporting cast, which partly compensates for O'Neal's somewhat bland presence at its centre. Yet even that doesn't matter, because Kubrick's pictorial sense is consistently mesmerising and engaging, be it the pistol-duels, the smoky battlefields, the candlelit interiors, the Hogarthian debauchery, the set-piece brawl on a polished ballroom floor. You can't tear your eyes from it. Loosely held together by Michael Hordern's drolly ironic narration, it might not catch very much of Thackeray's tone but it creates a world that is sumptuously, even shockingly, vivid.
Geoffrey Macnab does not like the comedian's big screen debut
elephant appealThe first 23 lots in our charity auction have now gone. But there are 22 more still up for grabs
Look beyond the usual shows for the best festive telly
The battle for control of Stieg Larsson's £30m legacy
Arts & Ents blogs
Heavy rain and years of 'benign neglect' may have caused Apollo Theatre roof collapse
Christmas TV guide 2013: Look beyond the usual shows for the best festive telly
Christmas comes early: Justin Bieber is 'retiring from music'
Justin Bieber isn't retiring from music after all
The Harry Hill Movie, film review: Screenplay isn't so much offbeat as utterly feeble
Exclusive: Young people ‘want UK to stay in Europe’: Four in 10 adults aged 18 to 24 are ‘firmly in favour’ of membership, poll shows
Tom Daley ‘is gay because his father died’ says UK evangelist
Iain Duncan Smith leaves Commons food banks debate early
Kiss and yell: Italian protester charged with sexual assault after kissing riot police officer
PM denies two child limit for benefits is part of Tory welfare policy
Anachronistic and iniquitous, grammar schools are a blot on the British education system
- 1 Tim Sherwood challenges Daniel Levy to set out vision for Tottenham Hotspur’s future
- 2 French pub fined €9,000 after customers returned empties to bar - because it's 'undeclared labour'
- 3 Sun will 'flip upside down' within weeks, says Nasa
- 4 #Teamnigella: It’s the only side to be on
- 5 Christmas comes early: Justin Bieber is 'retiring from music'
- < Previous
- Next >