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Colour Me Kubrick - by Brian W. Cook

Thursday 9 February 2006

This movie has been regularly attacked by the world critics. And to some extent, I believe the critics to have been unfair.

Colour Me Kubrick tells the strange but true tale of Alan Conway who, for a couple of months, managed successfully to pass himself off as Stanley Kubrick and to benefit from the prestige that this entailed. At the time, Kubrick had more or less locked himself away from the world in his villa of St. Albans and not many people knew what the director looked like. What is more, Kubrick had decided he would never use a plane again. This made it even easier for Conway to take up the role – or roles as it turns out – of 2001: Space Odyssey’s illustrious director.

Interesting as this may seem, it is yet more intriguing to examine the “victims” and their own vanity. They are conned into believing themselves to be in the company of great movie-making genius and launch into drippy conversations and idea-giving. These moments are truly enjoyable and one ends up surprised and thinking: “Would I be like that?”

The film shows John Malkovitch as the impostor. And, as usual, the American actor is perfect. He jumps from one of Conway’s interpretations to another with ease and an enormous amount of talent. Malkovitch is one of the true great actors alive today – his power as an amazing theatre artist transpires here as he truly unleashes a remarkable performance. Others who shine in Colour Me Kubrick are numerous… Mostly renowned theatre actors.

Brian W. Cook, the movie’s director is the ideal man to tell this tale. Indeed, he was assistant director on Kubrick’s sets for movies such as Barry Lindon, Eyes Wide Shut and even The Shining. The script-writer, Anthony Frewin, was no stranger to the real Stanley Kubrick either: he was the man’s personal assistant for many years until Kubrick’s death. The many references to the films made by the maestro are very subtly placed at strategic moments in the film’s narrative and are a lot of fun to pick out.

Together, and with the help of great actors, the authors really pull it off very well. Hence, I strongly believe that the rather systematic hits that the film has received are misplaced. They do violence to a thoroughly enjoyable motion picture. Not only does one have a good time watching this, but I strongly believe that, somewhere there is a little part of Kubrick’s cinema…

Polo

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