Mineshaft Gap

It's a screening log, no more no less. Maybe I'll have something interesting to say one of these days...

Absurdities in life and war.

It always feels good to scratch another film off the old must see list. It feels even better, though, when the film is breathtakingly good.

In Paths of Glory, Kubrick made the greatest dramatic anti-war film I have seen. He also made the best comedic anti-war film in Dr. Strangelove, so he's got that going for him, which is nice.

The story of three men wrongly accused of cowardice to hide a general's incompetence, Paths of Glory is haunting, disturbing and obviously Kubrick.

What is truly brilliant about the film isn't so much it's blistering attack on war but how it, in the end, it manages to affirm humanity. Throughout what turns out to be an incredibly difficult film to watch, you start to hate not just the condition but the people involved in the horrors. But then comes a last scene that begins as another horror but ends with such simple shots of faces in pain that it breaks through all the bravado, all the machismo of war and reveals the people underneath.

A last word on Kirk Douglas. I think this is the first of his films I have seen, and what a performance he delivers. Managing to exude power without any overt strength, he works so well in establishing the film's essential liberal argument, and should serve as a blueprint for anyone else trying this sort of agitprop.

An amazing film.

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