Lawrence Stacey’s review published on Letterboxd:
Another genius Kubrick film. Almost every shot looks like a painting in some way which makes the fact it was all shot under natural light even more impressive. The constant camera zoom outs are really brilliant and really add to the balance of the film as a character study and also an epic period drama. I think that Barry Lyndon is probably the best written Kubrick character. The changes and the arc he goes through during the film arent really shown through a clear change in personality as is the case for many similar characters in other films but more with the changing morals of the character and terrible attitude towards his step son as he becomes more and more greedy and power hungry. I wouldn’t say he’s extremely likeable at any point but by the end he’s practically irredeemable.
I think the culmination of the film with the duel followed by the final scene and the note left at the end really adds to the films relevance. Kubricks films are always full of social commentary for modern society and I was struggling to see how he was going to add it in here but sure enough he found a way and leaves you with a lot to think about as per usual.
I wouldn’t say Barry Lyndon is quite at the level as what I’d consider Kubricks three masterpieces which are 2001, the shining and paths of glory simply because I think the second part is right up there with the level he achieves in those films whereas I feel the first half is great in terms of cinematography, music, acting, dialogue etc but isn’t as interesting plot wise. This film is extremely good, highly enjoyable (you really can’t feel the 3 hour run time) and definitely a top 5 Kubrick but only an absolute masterpiece for half its run time.