Kubrickian Cinema: Design and Disorder Essay

Kubrickian Cinema: Design and Disorder Essay

The foundational Kubrickian philosophy is perhaps best described by Kubrick himself when he claims that “you can say a lot of architectural things about what a film story should have… but, of course, that still doesn’t really explain why you finally choose something, nor does it lead you to the story” (Nelson, 2000). Structuring films according to a certain formula certainly has its merit, an organizational framework in which a story can settle, yet Kubrick’s genius is also found outside of these parameters, in the notion that themes, plots, characters, and artistry cannot be entirely planned or explained, and, in moving through the mystery of the personal and spiritual creation and evolution of a film, nor should they be.

Kubrick’s filmmaking brilliance is captured in the remarkable development of movies such as Dr. Strangelove, A Clockwork Orange, The Shining, Full Metal Jacket, and Eyes Wide Shut. In considering these artistic masterpieces, one is drawn in by their ability to generate awe and obscurity in thrilling and intellectual styles. Not unlike filmmakers such as David Lynch and Quentin Tarantino, Kubrick’s approach is thoroughly artistic, bordering on the uncanny, yet always the product of religious perfectionism. There is always the feeling or sense that Kubrick has generated something freer from traditional constructs and delving into the deeper and more symbolic realm of the unconscious or transcendent, while knowing that the product of his work was governed by painstaking dedication. The birth of so many beloved and inspirational films is both a testament to both Kubrick’s artistic disorder as well as his crafted design.

The acclaim of Kubrick’s films spring from the marriage of his obsessional style and painstaking craftsmanship with the innate ability of Kubrick to grasp a spiritual flow of artistic energy from a myriad of mysterious sources. His subjects, sets, lighting, and music were almost maniacally selected and designed as to invoke the correct sense of the characters and storyline throughout the film development, generating near perfect displays of often twisted and distorted themes. By his devotion to the depiction of human suffering in all of its raw disorder, Kubrick carefully designs the production of stunning works of art.


Nelson, A. (2000). Kubrick, inside a film artist’s maze. Indiana University Press.

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