director Stanley Kubrick
Would I be such a naysayer if I said that I didn’t find Paths of Glory very moving? Stanley Kubrick’s anti-war WWI film is aesthetically astounding, well-done, striking, and really echoed again in many of Kubrick’s later films, visually. But as an emotive force, shaking its fist in the face of the mucky-mucks while innocent men are condemned to death, it just wasn’t so engaging.
I think this is a common criticism of Kubrick in general, that his film’s have an iciness and a lack of real humanity, even when defending humanity. And it’s not that this lack in Paths of Glory by any means was a terrible thing. It’s just I didn’t have that magic spark of empathy in particular for the characters.
I was slightly put off by how American these French soldiers were. Voices and accents that are meant to portray social class, I suppose could transpose, but seemed awkward in a movie very much based on real events in France during WWI.
Aesthetically, it’s a masterpiece. Those shots in the trenches, tracking the leaders as the march through the ranks. The suicide mission attack on “the anthill”. The framing of the massive interiors where the higher ranking generals meet and discuss fates of plebeian men as if they were tin soldiers.
This was one of my last unseen Kubricks, longstanding in my queue. Wonderfully concise, it’s a remarkable film, if not quite an impassioned one. The final scene of the German girl singing in the cafe, though. That was pretty nice.