The Kubrick stares

The Kubrick Stare, sometimes referred to as the Kubrick Glare is a common camera shot of an actor in most of his films. The Kubrick Stare has been called the “heavy-browed look of insanity”. The actor is filmed by Kubrick at a specific angle with their head tilted slightly down, looking up, sometimes with the teeth exposed but always with a detached, angry, diabolical, evil, menacing, or mad look in his eye.

Remember ‘The Shining’? This remarkable film has two examples of Kubrick glare. The first one is where Lloyd the Bartender gives Jack Nicholson the drinks he wants, in exchange for his soul. The second one in the same film, much more legendary is when Jack Nicholson goes mad. Jack Nicholson’s performance as the haunted and mad husband and father, Jack Torrance, in The Shining, has grown so much on me over years of re-watching this great film, that I now think it is the best Kubrick Stare of all times. I think what I like about Nicholson’s Kubrick Stare is how Nicholson slowly develops it through out the film.



The other Kubric stare, equally disturbing as the previous one is the image of Malcolm McDowell playing the leader of a gang of teenage thugs who go on rampages of “ultra violence” around England, wearing his tilted hat, with eye make up, staring up and at the camera with head tilted and an evil, sinister, mad look on his face– is the quintessential Kubrick Stare. A Clockwork Orange is a bleak, dark, depressing look at the near future and what civilized western society could devolve into. Here’s a pic-

The next is an obvious pick. Speaking of Kubrick Stares,who can forget the suicidal glare of Private Pyle in Full Metal jacket? No more explaination. Watch the film for yourself if you haven’t. Here’s the pick-

I have already streatched this article beyond my usual length of articles, but who cares! How can I skip the most unusual stare from the greatest film of Kubrick? 2001: a space odyssey has been my favourite film of all times. And who can forget the glowing red “eye” of H.A.L. the computer? It is only Kubrick  who could make a computer at once the most caring, warm and loving creature on board the spaceship bound for Jupiter, and at the same time, the embodiment of evil we come to expect with the Kubrick Stare. Kubrick does this with setting and mood, lighting and sound. As things progress, H.A.L. shows more and more of the “evil eye” until finally he stares, with cold Kubrick Stare detachment, at the lips of Pole and Bowman as they discuss how to unplug H.A.L. as they hide in the pod. The memorable scene, where H.A.L. figures out Poole and Bowman are plotting against him, and he decides to take action to commit murder is chilling, and the perfect Kubrick Stare. Here’s the pic-

This article is just a minimized projection of what Kubrick was and ever will be in the world of cinema. His camera works and direction will remain masterpieces.


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