Barry Lyndon

Title: Barry Lyndon
Year: 1975
Director: Stanley Kubrick
Writer: Stanley Kubrick, based on the novel by William Makepeace Thackeray
Starring: Ryan O’Neal, Marisa Berenson, Patrick Magee
Music: The Chieftains, and various classical music adapted by Leonard Rosenman
Distinctions: Oscars for Best Cinematography, Best Song Score and/or Adaptation (Rosenman), Best Art Direction/Set Decoration and Best Costume Design; Oscar nominations for Best Picture, Best Director and Best Adapted Screenplay; currently #246 on IMDb’s Top 250
Synopsis: the life and rise to nobility of an 18th-Century Irishman
How I saw it: on video (rented from Netflix), March 2008
Subjective Rating: 4/10 (Eh).
Objective Rating: 4/10 (gets points for concept, cinematography, special effects/design and acting) c. 2.2/4 (Okay).

So very boring. There’s one good scene — the final duel — which is really good. The rest of the movie is three hours of How Not to Adapt a Novel to the Screen 101. (Chapter One: How Much of the Book Can the Narrator Read Before People Leave the Theater?) I’m inclined to think that a competently-written script could have saved this movie, based on how well the climax worked. As it is, I suspect they didn’t even have a script, but just shot straight out of the novel. Also, there’s a lot of Irish military music played by the Chieftains. Ugh.


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