29
May
2013
Brief: Paths of Glory
Paths of Glory
Jordan
Virtually every aspect of Paths of Glory is excellent. This is probably no surprise, as it was directed by cinematic master Stanley Kubrick, but this is no minor work, even as it is spoken of less when compared to Kubrick's other masterpieces (it's hard to get people to pay attention when you're vying with the likes of Dr. Strangelove, 2001: A Space Odyssey, A Clockwork Orange, The Shining, and Eyes Wide Shut for attention). In this way, its somewhat similar to Francis Ford Coppola's The Conversation, which, situated between The Godfather and The Godfather Part II, never gets the attention it deserves.

The film follows a French squadron tasked by their leader, General Mireau (George Macready, giving such an excellent performance I'm surprised he is not more often spoken of as a great cinematic villain) with taking a German position. The attack is impossible, and when the men fail to advance, Mireau demands three of them be tried for cowardice. Colonel Drax (Kirk Douglas, also tremendous) defends the men and seethes against the injustice of a military system that would execute men for failing to achieve an impossible goal.

The direction is superb, the acting is phenomenal across the board, and the film is a startlingly emotional examination of injustice, the absurdity of war, ambition, and idealism. This is very clearly the work of a brilliant filmmaker on the rise, and well worth the time of anyone who hasn't seen it yet.

Read more of Jordan's Film Criticism here
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