The legend of Kubrick grows with every passing year. It feels like the more we analyze him, the closer we get to understanding how his genius worked. Kubrick has a mythos surrounding him that brings me back to his work over and over again. 

A recent tweet from Vashi Nedomansky went into the details of Kubrick's shot length in some of his movies. Other directors were mentioned in the tweet, and we're going to look at each director individually, but this article obviously focuses on Kubrick. 

So what can we glean from the shot length in Kubrick's films?

There's one caveat. Kubrick's work began at a time when Hollywood focused on longer shots and fewer edits. His movies progressed through so many decades and eras, that these ideas changed. I think the best way to look at them is to think about the intention behind the film, and also the era in which it was made. 

Let's look closer. 

Kubrick_shot_lengthCredit: Vashi Nedomansky

On the longer side, we have Kubrick's two lingering masterpieces. Lolita is older, which may affect length, but it's also a movie about perversion and voyeurism. It has that in common with Eyes Wide Shut, which was Kubrick's last movie and made in the modern era. Each features deliberate characters stalking people.

On the high end as well, you have contemplative movies. 2001 and Barry Lyndon cover sweeping topics, and a slower editing pace feels perfect for the films' intentions. 

None of Kubrick's list contains anything fast edited or really fast in pace. I was not surprised that Dr. Strangelove ranked as the one with the quickest edits, since the snappy dialogue and cutaways in that movie probably affect the shot time. 

Since most of Kubrick's titles feel like they have an epic quality, I'm not surprised the middle-of-the-pack movies still feature a slower cut rate. The Shining and Full Metal Jacket feature camerawork that aims to steep us in the characters' world but also show us what it's like to be these characters. Whether trapped in Vietnam or trapped in a haunted hotel, they allow the camera to move slowly and carefully through scenes. 

What are some of the biggest takeaways for you? 

Let me know in the comments. 

Source: Vashi Nedomansky