Stanley Kubrick. What can I say about the bloke? He's possibly one of my favourite directors of all time. Okay, "2001, A Space Oddessy", I can't even begin to talk about. "The Shining" I'll get onto later. You know what's coming, film fans. "A Clockwork Orange".
Now, Kubrick used the American version of the book for the film, cutting out the last chapter, which I personally think is VITALLY important to the plot. This is one of the reasons why the narrative of A Clockwork Orange really pisses me off, as I love the book. However, Kubrick's use of mise-en-scene, cinematography and editing is absolutely sublime in this film. And in practically all of Kubrick's films. It's something I've never really seen with another director. The sound is amazing. The juxtaposition of the classical music and the violence is genius. I know that idea stems from the book, but it works so well on screen. Like in "Natural Born Killers", in the scene showing Mallory's past, with the canned laughter, the applause, the happy music and the genuine sitcom feel over the horrible nature of the scene, it's one of the most effective methods of cinema, and of drama, that I've ever come across.
But, though A Clockwork Orange in my eyes is a technical masterpiece, the narrative is what bugs me, being such a fan of the book. And that's why my favourite work of Kubrick's is definately "The Shining".
First of all, Jack Nicholson. Wow. What an actor. I thought he was absolutely AMAZING in this film, from the infamous "Heeeere's Johnny!" to such minor details as the way he lifts his eyebrow. Shelley Duval gets so much stick. Loads of people, most of my Film Studies class actually say she's shit, because she's so pathetic and over the top. I think that is brilliant! She SHOULD be pathetic and over the top, because the film wouldn't work the same if she wasn't. And Danny Lloyd is just the cutest little kid ever.
The film didn't scare me [lets face it, the only film ever to scare me is Dumbo], but I can see why it won the 100 Scariest Moments on Channel 4 last night. Kubrick has paid so much attention to detail here. He found possibly the creepiest twins on the planet to play the murdered daughters, the casting of Delbert Grady was genius, and casting Jack Nicholson is probably one of the best decisions ever made in cinema.
The way he has filmed it is a testament to his genius too. The shots are slow, too slow. This in my eye makes it even eerier, as it does not follow the conventions of a horror at all. Horrors conventionally use fast-cutting [see the shower scene in Psycho] but the shots in The Shining are so long and drawn out, it doesn't seem RIGHT. Take for example the scene in the bathroom of room 237. If we begin looking at it from the point where Dick Halloran is watching the TV, and the camera zooms really closely into his face as he starts "shining", it takes it's bloody time. You just think "what the hell is supposed to be happening?" Similarly, the next scene in the bathroom is so slow, which is what makes it so scary. And when we finally see the woman [not the beautiful one, the other one], you're already fucking creeped out, which makes the next part even scarier. And if you add the music...*shudders*
Also: "All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy."
So there you go. I think Stanley Kubrick is a genius. However, he should have used the British A Clockwork Orange.
Next...Hitchcock? Raimi? Wright? Verbinski? Or perhaps not even a director? Suggestions?