61. “2001: A Space Odyssey”, Stanley Kubrick (1968)

Part of The 100 Greatest Movies I’ve Ever Seen list.

2001 A Space

2001: A Space Odyssey

dir. Stanley Kubrick scr. Stanley Kubrick and Arthur C. Clarke cin. Geoffrey Unsworth with Keir Dullea and Gary Lockwood

In 100 words: On the one hand, 2001 is indispensable cinema—the kind that fully encapsulates what that word means as an artform, as an experience, and as an essay on technology, on humanity, etc. On the other, it often feels severe—everything about it so perfectly put together and heavy, that it can as easily be accused of being pretentious. That said, it is luminous entertainment: its sonic textures and visual grandeur are dazzling, while its narrative structure and scope are daring. Few films are as pop-culture relevant and as influential on the way we watch and think about movies like this.

Other Movies for Context: Kubrick has one of the most perfect filmographies ever, in that their greatness relative to each other are often debated by cinephiles. I loved Barry Lyndon (1975) most, because it has an effervescence that his others lacked. I enjoyed Dr. Strangelove (1965) and A Clockwork Orange (1971) for their cynicism and perfectly controlled imagery. The Shining (1980) is the closest I think Kubrick gets to being accessible, because its dread is so perfectly honed.

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