Filmmakers today – or at least ones who make blockbusters – have fallen into a weird habit of not letting us connect with their work. A lot of that has to do with the time we’re given with those characters and settings in individual shots. One filmmaker who understood the importance of that connection was Stanley Kubrick. This super-cut of shots from Kubrick films assembled by somersetVII is an example of the subtle perfection his films have when it comes to emotional connection regardless of specific plot points. Should someone who’s never seen a Kubrick film (shame on them) watch the video above, odds are that they would still be able to glean a great deal of information about each character.
Kubrick wasn’t afraid to linger on a shot because he knew it meant we would be pulled deeper into the film. The shots in A Clockwork Orange and The Shining literally make us face the monsters of those films. We don’t get to look away from what they are and we’re forced to deal with that discomfort. When we think we’re caught up in the beauty of the shots of outer space in 2001: A Space Odyssey, they actually do more to let us know just how disconnected Bowman is from everything else so that we worry more for him when things go wrong.
The steadicam shot of Danny riding his tricycle in The Shining has us literally follow him on his journey. Through this, we see the Overlook Hotel from his – a child’s – perspective, which lends itself to a more visceral reaction from us when the frightening things begin to happen.
Kubrick made us hear, see and, perhaps more importantly, feel exactly what he wanted us to. The interesting thing about these feelings is that they can somehow exist separately from the plot of each film. It’s something so rarely accomplished in films today which may be why I rarely leave the theater caring too much about the characters I just spent time with.
What are your thoughts on Kubrick’s style? Let us know in the comments below.
Image Credit: Warner Bros