I miss Stanley Kubrick more with each passing year. He was the most ambitious of directors, striving always to make unique films that pushed the boundaries of storytelling and left indelible images on the viewer’s mind. He was a consummate entertainer and provocateur, surely one of the most difficult of balancing acts.
My big sister took me to see ‘2001: A Space Odyssey‘ in re-release when I was 12, and when I walked out of the cinema I felt like I had suddenly become twice as old, so crammed full of new and profound information was my brain. A few years later the same thing happened to me again, and again it was Kubrick, filling my head with more troubling thoughts about the meaning of existence via the brilliant surreal violence of ‘A Clockwork Orange‘.
Kubrick’s perfectionism is legendary, and there are many stories of his cast and crew being driven over the edge by his demand for dozens of takes. But for me, the justification lies in the finished films. They feel utterly exact and purposeful. Whether I completely understand their purpose or not, there is no doubt in my mind that they are the movies that Kubrick set out to make. He never gave in to compromise, whether due to studio pressure, schedules, or exhaustion.
He always got what he came for. And that is a hell of a thing.