The Stanley Kubrick film that has the line "It was the reign of George III ... they are all equal now." is "Barry Lyndon". Kubrick’s 1975 epic "Barry Lyndon" is perhaps his most assiduous work, at least some critics said so. These critics also offered the position that the film has the least 'entertainment value'. It’s not as raucous and cruelly funny as "Dr. Strangelove" and "A Clockwork Orange", or awesomely chaotic as "Full Metal Jacket" or as cleverly structured as "The Killing". It has a sense of humor, but it’s so slyly sharp that the film’s jokes provide simple tremors of discomfort. It may however be the hardest of hardcore Kubrick, and the main innovations of "Barry Lyndon" may lie in the way the film's story is told.

Kubrick’s methods are precise and intelligent. This is a film that takes a more cosmic view of humankind’s folly. It is a clinical epic which deliberately puts a vast chasm of identification between the characters and the viewer. As we stick with the movie, we need to try to cross the chasm. Our effort is worth it. If we adopt Kubrick’s particular storytelling syntax and give ourselves over to his detached tone, we find ourselves thinking about the human race in a different way, not as a collection of individuals or nations, but as an animal species. We become animals who are interested in survival and the accumulation of resources. We can next see the film as a tragedy of Redmond Barry and his wife. They become everyone’s tragedy in microcosm.

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