“Kubrick deals with the connection between the human death instinct and the machines we created to wreak havoc, destruction, and do the killing for us. He does so better than any other filmmaker, too,” insists Kuznick. “He knows there is something deeply irrational and absurd about human beings who create machines that will only end life on the planet.”
Such a negative viewpoint of the world probably helps to explains why, even though he was the most celebrated director of his generation, Kubrick was never rewarded with an Academy Award for his obvious talents. “He didn’t play the publicity game,” says Abrams. “In his early years, sure, he wanted to win an Oscar. But by the mid 60s, he’d slowed down. He makes as many films between 1953 and 1964 as he does afterwards because he was more interested in making sure his films delivered something new, and that he didn’t repeat himself.”
Which probably explains why Kubrick kept on coming back to the war genre. It was so rich in action, drama, emotion, and themes of grief, ego, sacrifice, and guilt, that Kubrick could go from searing the politics of war in Paths of Glory, to satirising the insanity of nuclear bombs in Dr. Strangelove, before finally showcasing the human cost of battle in Full Metal Jacket, without coming close to duplication. All of which he achieved while proving that he was the master of both transfixing and enlightening his audience at the same time.
So, while it may be a shame that Kubrick only made 13 films, perhaps we should just be grateful for the ones he gave us.
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