Everything about Barry Lyndon is astonishing, from the very beginning. I think that the reason for that is the great care that presented in every scene. Each take is a painting, and it carries the feeling of another era, another time, reaffirmed by the narrative structure divided by chapters. This format is fit for the tale of an Irish sly guy and his misfortunes through life on the 18th century. Admirable.
The narrator's off camera voice takes us by had in each picture of this quiet yet intense tale, accompanied by an outstanding soundtrack of classic composers - highlighting the amazing Schubert's Piano Trio n. 2 In Flat Major, Opus 100 (the same that had me by the throat in The Hunger) and Händel's Sarabande, both very omnipresent during the whole movie. Heartbreaking.
Everything is a part of the atmosphere here, beautiful, distant, evocative of a life that was not lived, but one that had lived Barry. He goes through life with his sly face and manners, trying to see where it will lead him. He leaves his village and comes back to it, without really changing at all despite everything that he had experienced - what is incredibly tragic. And we keep along, amazed by the living paintings of another time in front of us. Beautiful.
And being Stanley Kubrick, we shouldn't expect just an adaptation of a written story (one of his trademarks). There are important points here - as we can find in each of his movies. One of them it is how futile can be some of our social attempts, what is considered fundamental but that, in the end, doesn't really matter. Stunning.
|One of the famous scenes by candle's light|
|Barry Lyndon. Directed and writtem by Stanley Kubrick from the novel|
by William Makepeace Thackeray. With: Ryan O'Neal, Marisa Berenson,
Patrick Magee. UK/US/Ireland, 1975, 184 min. Mono, Color (DVD).
PS: I first heard about Barry Lyndon through a T-shirt that I gave as a gift to a friend. It is unbelievable, but I didn't know about this masterpiece presented by Kubrick between A Clockwork Orange, 1971, and The Shining, 1989