Browse all reviews by letter     A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z 0 - 9

USA 1953
Directed by
Stanley Kubrick
68 minutes
Rated PG

Reviewed by
Bernard Hemingway
1.5 stars

Fear And Desire

Although Kubrick retained a life-long interest in the folly of war pursuing it from, Paths Of Glory  to Full Metal Jacket ,he quickly dropped the avant-gardist approach of this his debut feature, an anti-war allegory about four soldiers whose plane has crashed behind enemy lines in an unnamed country.  

On the one hand it is an interesting film with Kubrick who was producer, director, screenwriter, editor, and cinematographer using “alienating” techniques like splitting the sound from the visuals and using jump cut editing and non-naturalistic acting well before Godard made this kind of thing his own. This demonstrates an unusually adventurous and thoughtful creative spirit but on the other, like many sophomore works, it is virtually unwatchable, it being unclear at times if what we are seeing is intentionally estranging or simply clumsy, with the technique of the film overwhelming any possible emotional involvement and thus leaving it as an unduly dry and at times over-strained intellectual exercise.

It is little surprise that later in his career Kubrick attempted to suppress screenings of it. He needn’t have worried as only his die-hard fans are likely to get much out of it, and even they will be struggling.

FYI:  Paul Mazursky, who plays the nervous young soldier who cracks under pressure, later went on to a long career as a film writer, director and sometime actor.

Available from: Viavision




Want something different?

random vintage best worst