His Dark Materials
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Rarely, criticism about patriotism has been so much effective. The best thing about the film is that from the first scene we have the opportunity to understand what's wrong with the general, but I didn't get it. Kubrick showed us that the patriotism is only a way that people use to get power. From the opening credits when we heard a patriotic song to the end when we saw soldiers becoming nostalgic by hearing a song about home and we see that patriotism is an inappropriate feeling confused with the desire for home, and the Kubrick's arc is completed, masterfully lead by Kirk Douglas
Paths of Glory is a 1957 anti-war film directed by one of my personal favourite directors Stanley Kubrick. The film stars Kirk Douglas as Colonel Dax and George Macready as General Paul Mireau.
The story I found to be really strong and intriguing, from the great anti-war message to the surprisingly unpredictable plot points.
The actors were very strong and fitting, especially George Macready as General Paul Mireau, I found that he gave a really powerful and strict performance.
The characters I personally found to be realistic and very emotionally investable, especially private Maurice Ferol and corporal Philippe Paris.
The cinematography like with most of Kubrick's films was really impressive, with some great and memorable shots of the characters and scenery.
The production design and costumes were really detailed and grand, especially with the French WW1 trenches and battlefields.
The film also had some really strong and beautiful visuals, especially toward the end of the third act.
The practical effects and action were also handled really well, from the believable explosions to the tense and atmospheric shootings.
The dialogue I found to be very intense and well spoken, especially with the trial and boardroom scenes.
The film also had some really strong atmosphere, especially toward the end of the third with the characters private Maurice Ferol, corporal Philippe Paris and private Pierre Arnaud.
The film I also found to be very emotional, especially dealing with the deaths of innocent soldiers.
The film was also incredibly gripping and emotionally investable, and I can't wait to watch it again soon.
Over all I give it a
9/10 - go and watch it now
Kubrick is very interested here in human choices... and puts into conversation questions surrounding corruption within institutions... it’s one of his best
Kubrick's strongest anti-war film, and one of his finest films he directed, "Paths of Glory" is a must see masterpiece that manages to resonate as strongly today as it did back in the 60s.
The final song of the movie was actually sung by Christiane Kubrick who was also the wife of Stanley Kubrick himself. "Paths of Glory" is not a war movie that talks about historical events, conflicts, or patriotism but this is a tragedy and moral ambiguity. Various countries such as France, Germany, and Spain are hard enough to ban this movie. Despite the controversy, Kubrick realized this film with a could-happen background. But, this is one of the underrated Kubrick's masterpieces, again, with so much style and criticism in it. A powerful moment as well where you can tell and how you want it to not end tragically.
I was actually dreading watching this, I thought oh no another overly long and boring war movie featuring outdated acting. What a pleasant surprise it was then to find that Paths of Glory was just under a 100 minutes in running time, was very engrossing and contained a stellar Kirk Douglas performance in the leading role. I would say that this is Kubrick's first truly great film, Fear and Desire (1953), Killer's Kiss (1955) and The Killing (1956) all featured incredible cinematography but their storylines lacked real tension and conflict and all of that visual beauty was wasted on films of very little substance. Here the wrongs of war are grappled with as Kubrick finds the humor and the horror in the seemingly pointless World War I.
The film concerns the conflict between General Paul Mireau, George Macready, who hopes to carry out a dangerous mission simply to elevate his status and Colonel Dax, Kirk Douglas, who genuinely cares for the men he commands and hopes to defend against charges of cowardice. Mireau forces Dax to send his men out to capture an anthill with very little support, a near impossible task, when men refuse to fight having seen the casualty rate Dax sides with them but the humiliated Mireau orders the men dead. Three men from different companies are selected to go on trial and although Dax defends them well the trial is set against them and they are ultimately executed. In order to get some form of revenge however Dax orders the cowardly Lieutenant Roget, Paul Morris, to execute them. General Georges Broulard, Adolphe Menjou, unexpectedly offers Dax, Mireau's job as he announces Mireau is under investigation. Dax rebukes him on moral grounds and is saddened when he witnesses his men celebrating after being told they will have to return to the front line.
The battle sequence in this film or rather the annihilation of the French by the Germans was one of the most stunning I had ever seen on film. Everybody always talks about the opening 20 minutes of Saving Private Ryan (1998) and I highly suspect Paths of Glory significantly influenced that film but here I found it even more impressive that with the lesser technology of 1957 Kubrick was able to create an atmosphere so visceral. Men get shot and roll down into puddles of muddy water all around Dax as he maneuvers his way through the battle field, pistol in hand. We understand, if we didn't already, how hopeless their mission is in this grand scene as it sweeps across the length and breadth of the land that these miserable men are fighting over.
Another incredible scene in the film, there are so many, is that in which we see the men lined up in the trench move to make way for Dax as he witnesses the forlorn, resigned expressions on their faces. Although it probably wasn't one long uncut shot it looked that way on screen and the uninterrupted capturing of the utter despondency of these men is more powerful than any monologue about the horrors of war or any gruesome death scene.
The unjustness of the executions makes your blood boil as you see three innocent men who have each valiantly served their country murdered because of the pride of one man, Mireau. The execution scene was harrowing as was it horrifying hearing Broulard announce that "There are few things more fundamentally stimulating than watching another man die." His sentiments appear to proven as the other soldiers can be seen excitedly celebrating after the executions and the sickening dehumanization of people through the war is the best point that the film makes. Yes Dax is a little too ideal and gallant to really exist but Douglas's approach to the role adds much needed texture and nuance that wouldn't have been present without this fine actor and the film as a whole would not work if we did not have a sympathetic protagonist.
This is definitely a film that must be watched not just because it's â~important', which it really is, but because it's beautifully made and easy to connect without dumbing down it's message. Even children, especially children could understand that what happens on-screen is wrong and yet the film is sophisticated enough to confound even adult audiences, what a masterpiece.
The best, GREATEST courtroom movie ever made!
Powerful anti war drama with an incredible performance from legend Kirk Douglas and class direction from genius Stanley Kubrick.
This film was great.
Great first world war movie.