Stanley Kubrick: A Narrative and Stylistic Analysis

Stanley Kubrick: A Narrative and Stylistic Analysis

Stanley Kubrick: A Narrative and Stylistic Analysis

Stanley Kubrick: A Narrative and Stylistic Analysis


The second edition of Mario Falsetto's extensive analysis of Kubrick's films carefully examines the filmmaker's oeuvre in its entirety--from smaller, early films (The Killing) through mid-career masterpieces (Dr. Strangelove; 2001: A Space Odyssey; A Clockwork Orange), later films such as Full Metal Jacket, and his final work, 1999's Eyes Wide Shut. The author, offering close readings supported by precise shot descriptions, shows us how Kubrick's body of work represents a stylistically and thematically consistent cinematic vision, one that merges formal experimentation with great philosophical complexity.


I have no fixed ideas about wanting to make films in particular categories—Westerns, war films and so on. I know I would like to make a film that gave a feeling of the times—a contemporary story that really gave a feeling of the times, psychologically, sexually, politically, personally. I would like to make that more than anything else. And it’s probably going to be the hardest film to make.

—Stanley Kubrick

It would be almost forty years before Stanley Kubrick realized his ambition to make a film that, on its surface at least, “really gave a feeling of the times.” When Kubrick spoke those words in 1960, he had no way of knowing that virtually every film he would go on to direct would reflect the moment of its making and the times we lived in. It’s now clear that all of the director’s films were contemporary, although perhaps not in the way he intended in that particular interview.

With the release of Eyes Wide Shut in the summer of 1999 four months after Kubrick’s untimely death that March, the world finally saw his “contemporary story.” The irony is that Eyes Wide Shut may have been the one Kubrick film with the least to say about the decade in which it was made. The film seemed decidedly out of time. Its notoriously long shooting and production schedule—about four years in total—created an enormous amount of anticipation since Kubrick was finally exploring the sexual and psychological realities of a contemporary marriage in crisis. Had he lived, however, he would surely have been disappointed by the film’s reception. Although the film had its supporters, more often than not the reception was a somewhat mystified lack of comprehension. What was surprising among the many reactions to the film was how divided many critics were and, most surprisingly, just how literally certain

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