Kubrick-lite — 5 years ago
If I hadn’t known it was directed by Stanley Kubrick, there isn’t much of a chance I would have guessed it just from watching the film. It lacks his signature creativity and cinemagraphic elegance. In fact, it came off to me as just another Old Hollywood-style epic. The only scene where I could feel Kubrick’s vision was the wonderful scene before the final battle, where the Roman army is shown marching out into battle formation. The movie is not bad, but I think it was an error to add it to the new AFI list when they took off much better films. I think people tend to remember the few really good scenes and overrate a film such as this one. I mean, “I am Spartacus!” is pretty much Hollywood 101. That being said, I really enjoyed the performances by Laurence Olivier and Charles Laughton (who is quickly becoming one of my favorite actors). The best perfomance was hands-down Peter Ustinov’s and I’m glad to have found out since watching the film that he won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor for this picture – very well deserved. All in all, one of those classics that you should see, but not necessarily one I would go out of my way to see.