Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Barry Lyndon

Couple of notes on Barry Lyndon which I watched because I have been rereading some material on the Seven Years War ... what my American compatriots call the French and Indian War.

This is a curious movie because it does not appear to be concerned that none of its characters are in any sense worthy of empathy. I am not well versed in criticism of Thackeray, although the Wikipedia article notes that the film substitutes an omniscient, impersonal narrator for the books's highly unreliable first-person narrator. Pity that. Not sure how he handled the warmth of his characters.

I enjoyed the movie, especially the scenery and cinematography. It seems to center around a number of episodes of corporal punishment, unconvincingly acted and, again, not eliciting any sympathy or even emotion. In the scene depicted below, I could not determine if I was more unconcerned about the brutish Barry Lyndon or the insipid Lord Bullington.

So, unconcern can be amusing especially if the scenery is pretty. This is not one of the pretty scenes.

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