Charlie’s review published on Letterboxd:
🔙 Prisoners 🔙
🔜 Batman Begins 🔜
It's been a good few hours since I watched this and I've started to get a grip on it, but I don't think it will ever not shock me. How can one comprehend this? It is something that will continue to be impossible to put into words. Everything that happens, from the very first second to the very last, is utterly indescribable, like nothing ever seen before. It is extremely complex. It is so complex that I don't think anything about it will ever be fully realised, not for a few generations anyway. Its mere existence is shrouded in ambiguity, a simple question without a simple answer, like ’how long is a piece of string?’. I'm not even sure where to start, how I could possibly describe this enigmatic masterpiece?
I don't think of 2001: A Space Odyssey as a movie. Of course, that is what it ultimately is, but it is so much more. It is an experience. Every movie essentially is, but 2001 captivates you more than those, to the point where you completely forget about your surroundings and are virtually in space with those characters. You feel as the characters do, you fear for their safety as they fear for their own, it is truly a remarkable and unforgettable experience that is too complex to be just a regular flick. This surreal experience is admittedly slow, which was my biggest fear going in. While others may have found it boring, with scenes lasting a large number of minutes, bringing about build-ups that seem to drag, ultimately resulting in nothing, I found this to enhance the experience, to shape it into the masterpiece it became. Every drawn-out sequence only draws you in closer, giving you more and more of an inclination to keep your eyes on the screen. This could have been a 90-minute thriller, but Kubrick, with his unique vision that he is always so great at putting into action, knew what a story of this grandeur needed. It required a slow pacing with constant build-ups and a strong atmosphere full of tension which all happen to be the exact areas in which he shines. Another of 2001’s entities is as a piece of art, only one that moves for an extended period of time. Every shot, no matter how short or insignificant, is quite clearly handled with the utmost care and intricate detail. The range of close-ups and wide shots, scenes with few cuts and vibrant camera motions are simply mesmerising, giving your eyes no good time to look away, even if just for a split second. Considering it was released a staggering 51 years ago, the visuals are fantastic. You can definitely notice that the visual effects are dated in places but, if you don't go in looking for it, they look perfectly fine, investing you in the experience even more.
If you were to go into 2001: A Space Odyssey with similar expectations to any other regular sci-fi flick, looking solely for a piece of entertainment, and without being open to any more than just that, I can practically guarantee you will hate it. This is not a movie that entertains, with which you can sit back with a few snacks late on a Saturday night. If you watch this one, you must be prepared to give full attention to the screen, and to experience some truly heavy going cinema. As I said, it is merely a prolonged work of art, and it therefore requires concentration and attention to fully appreciate. This is the ’blink and you'll miss it’ kind of film, if you look away for one second, or if someone says even just a few words to you, there's a good chance you will have missed something. There is not a single other creation that I know of that is even remotely similar to this one, that is so unique and revolutionary, so ahead of its time. It truly is one of the greatest cinematic creations, Stanley Kubrick’s masterpiece.
Does Letterboxd have a secret 6-star option I don't know about? Would be very interested in that.
Just landed in Greece for a 2 week holiday, so don't expect to see much activity from me until 2 weeks from today.