Kubrick Essay: Why is he the “Master”?
Stanley Kubrick changed cinema with his films like 2001: a space odyssey, a clockwork orange, the shinning and much more. One of the main reasons he is looked at one of the best directors that ever lived whilst also being very influential is because of how much detail he puts into his work, making actors do 100s of takes so he could have the perfect one. An example of him putting masses amounts of effort into the smallest detail could be from the film eyes wide shut where he got his nephew to take pictures of red doors in New York City for a whole year. Where the door would only be featured for about 10 seconds. This shows us that you have to pay attention to the smallest detail in order for film to good and to be a proper success. This helps be able to create great films due to him keeping an eye on every aspect of his films, making him become to people to be the master.
Another main reason why he has be able to stay in people’s mind so much and still be able to stay so relevant in the 21th century, is due to the fact of his cinema signature. This being shots containing one point perceptive. These shots become ionic in his films and influenced many filmmakers and many to come. This type of shot and filmmaking is very unique to Stanley Kubrick. However I feel what is so special about his signature shot is the fact that he doesn’t over use it and using it only when it benefits the story and the characters at the time. This is what makes him a master, knowing when to use a certain shot and when not to use one.
Two of my favourite films of his filmography would have to be Eyes wide shut and A Clockwork Orange. This is because of the fact that I like their attention to detail and also feel that these have the best cinematography in them out of his films. With A clockwork Orange having good performances in them. I also feel that these two films have important context to them as well about the time they were made being very important to the film. For example A Clockwork Orange is set in a dystopian era. A dystopia is a futuristic society in which the citizens are repressed and powerless. The people are easily oppressed, and they are controlled by a totalitarian government. This is a criticism on politics and the government at that time. I feel that this makes the film much better, this is another reason why Stanley Kubrick is looked upon in such high regard. Eyes wide shut is also very striking for its time due to the fact that at the time there were rumours about Tom Cruise’s sexuality. This added with the fact that the film is about sexual fantasies makes the film even more bold.
He has key messages and values quite hidden in all of his films, he does this by having images in his shots and only if you were looking out would see. He would also have messages hidden in passing dialogue. An example of this would be in the film the shinning. A message hidden in this film could be that America overlooked the atrocities done to the Native Americans. An examples of this would that Hotel in built on a Native American burial ground, while having the name “Overlook,” hotel. This added with the fact that there is lots of Native American imagery throughout the film as well. This means why he pays attention to the smallest detail he is able to place hidden messages into his films. Another example of this would be 2001: a space odyssey, due to the fact that every person has a different reading of the film. This evaluates him above other directors due to the fact that he is able to have messages hidden to people. This also means there is no wasted dialogue in his scenes and everything is in there for a reason.
However even though his films are considered masterpieces and work as case studies for filmmakers, his films never normally do well at the box office. This is due to the fact that his films are very hard to market due to the fact that they are very complex and multi-layered. This also makes it hard for him due to the fact that he doesn’t get massive budgets compared to most other filmmakers due to the fact that studios won’t give that much money due to the fact that they we won’t get the money back. The times where he has found box office success is when he has had famous actors in the lead role, examples of this include: Spartacus due to Kirk Douglas and the Shinning due to Jack Nicholson. However box office has no effect of how good your art is. This means box office is only really relevant at the time and the art is what stays around.
Kubrick uses a lot of classical music in his works, but only when appropriate. For example having lots of music by the composer Beethoven due to the fact that the main character likes that music. An example of his good use of classical music would be for Eyes wide shut where he uses quite sinister music when at the ritual scene, to get the feeling of the unknown and creepiness. However he doesn’t use it in every film, an example of this would the film Full metal Jacket due to the fact he used music from that time period, the 60s, to set the scene and tone of the film. This also why people think he is a master of his work due to the fact that he takes time picking what music to play and for what reason.
I will be trying to use a lot of Stanley Kubrick’s techniques when moving forward in my short films, one of them being the act of paying attention to the smallest detail in a scene. This is due to the fact that you can the film a lot deeper than it is and also have a much better content within the film to make it that much better. Rather than only having good surface level. I will also try to copy his one point perceptive shots that are featured in his films, this is due to the fact that they are quite striking and also very visually appealing.
Overall I feel that Kubrick is considered a master by many due to the fact that he pays attention to the smallest detail in all aspects weather that’s in acting or the music Kubrick purposely handpicks every part of his films. Making each one very personal whilst only very complex, even if you don’t like Kubrick’s films I feel you have to admire him for what he does. Trying to get them as perfect as possible is something that all filmmakers what to do with their films.