Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Kubrick Unfinished

Author(s): Sergio Requejo
Location: Spain


"Kubrick Unfinished"

Directed by Stephen Frears
Written by Peter Morgan
Music by Jocelyn Pook, Gy├Ârgy Ligeti

Main Cast

Jeffrey Wright as Dave Bowman
Stephen Fry as Stanley Kubrick
Catherine Keener as Katharina Kubrick
Albert Finney as Producer John Calley
Steve Coogan as Mysterious Actor
Ellen Burstyn as Christiane Kubrick
Alan Arkin as Jan Harlan
Scott Wolf as Tom Cruise
Rachael Taylor as Nicole Kidman
Richard Schiff as Steven Spielberg
Jennifer Jason Leigh as Herself
Harvey Keitel as Himself

Tagline: "Keep your eyes wide open"

Synopsis: London 1997. Stanley Kubrick is in the middle of his last film, Eyes Wide Shut. There is a big delay during filming and producer John Calley decides to send one of his executives to the set to control, inform and try to accelerate the shooting. There are a lot of rumors about a parallel shooting in the studio, an experimental and secret new project, filmed at the same time as Eyes Wide Shut. Dave Bowman is one of the new inexperienced executives in Warner Bros, and he is chosen by Calley to face the genius. Bowman is not well received in the studios because his presence is uncomfortable for everyone and Stanley Kubrick refuses to be interviewed by him. Kubrick threatens the company with leaving the shooting, and Bowman, with the fear of being fired, tries to do his job in the shadow, kept in the margin, asking everyone in the cast and crew to figure out the truth. John Calley wants to see all the material that Kubrick has filmed in the last year, because it is property of Warner, and they want to know why he wants to repeat most of the scenes. Bowman has to answer lots of unsolved questions, why is the filming so delayed? Why Kubrick decided to film again the scenes with Harvey Keitel and Jennifer Jason Leigh? Why did he replace them? And, where is that material? Is there a second unit filming at the same time?

The film's shooting gets to 900 days and during all that time Dave Bowman stays in London investigating. He is witness of the tight relationship between Kubrick and the couple Cruise-Kidman, the Steven Spielberg's visits and videoconferences to talk about future projects. But he can't find anything about the rumors that came from Hollywood. But there is something strange in the shot planning because there is an actor in the set that hasn't being seen filming yet. That character is not in the screenplay, and Bowman focuses his investigation on him. Bowman only friend will be Katharina, Kubrick's daughter and art assistant in the film. Katharina introduces him in her circle and family, because she thinks that it is better to have the enemy at home. Bowman will meet Christiane, Kubrick's wife and Jan Haran. The relationship between him and Katharina gets closer and Stanley starts knowing him better and he starts talking to him, getting lot of confidence day by day because of his real love for cinema. But Kubrick warns him about something: If he wants to know the truth he must resign to Warner, and if he doesn't, he must go. Dave Bowman will be one of the few persons who will see the final cut and real version of EWS, and after Kubrick’s death, Bowman will turn into the inheritor and guardian of his unfinished last work.

What the Press would say:

This film was parked during several years because no one dared to finance this kind of non authorized biography about the last days of the great filmmaker. The story starts from a real base but this film offers a novelized vision about the reality of the Eye Wide Shut's extended shooting. It introduces fake elements and images mixed with real scenes about the filming, becoming a great novelized work of documentation. Stephen Frears accepted this project because his vision about it doesn't go deeply in rumors and polemic, though it is all about that. He doesn't want to focus the plot in the relationship between Kubrick and the couple Kidman-Cruise, and his particular vision about sexuality. All this is part of what we can see in the film but not the leading thread. Stephen Frears places the action in an unreal frame and he tries to recreate what could be the EWS set, one of the most mysterious and secret shootings of all time.

This film is a game about suppositions and it gathers some of the well known anecdotes, turning it into a schemer document and into an approximation about the last days of the genius. This is not a biography; it tries to create a picture about who was Stanley Kubrick, his way of working and how it really was at the end of his life. The talented British actor, Stephen Fry, plays the director and he gets a great characterization and a great verisimilitude with Kubrick. He had the physic but he needed a long make up session to get the final touch, and the similitude was spectacular even in his movements and the way he talked. Jeffrey Wright plays Bowman, the man everybody rejects because he is an intruder in the Kubrick's closet world. His character is the main motor of the plot because he will show us what is happening in the shooting, and we feel identified with him because we are intruders like him. Wright delivers a great performance being the structure of the film. His character is on the screen almost all the time and he has been consider the main character. Catherine Keener plays Kubrick's daughter, the nexus between his father, Bowman and the mysterious actor in the set, played by Steve Coogan. Keener gives a great performance based on a real woman but not in real events so she created the character over an idea, giving to her a supposed personality. Keener’s character offers one of the most interesting visions about who was Kubrick in his familiar circle.

This film has an intricate plot about cinema inside cinema, with a great directing and acting. An amazing film and work of fiction that may resolve many unsolved questions, or not.

FYC:

Best Picture
Best Director: Stephen Frears
Best Original Screenplay: Peter Morgan
Best Leading Actor: Jeffery Wright
Best Supporting Actor: Stephen Fry
Best Supporting Actress: Catherine Keener

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