Color Me Kubrick: A True...ish Story review by Jackass Tom

I’ll admit it, I’m a Stanley Kubrick fan. I looked deep into Eyes Wide Shut to find not only surface but hidden meanings. I tried to do the same with 2001: Space Odyssey but I’m sure my theories are no different than any other well meaning film philosopher. Even his lesser known films like Lolita are on my “seen it” list. So when a movie comes around called Color Me Kubrick, it has my complete and total attention even if I haven’t the foggiest idea what its about. So what is Color Me Kubrick?

Alan Conway (John Malkovich) is a bizarre dressed con-man who parades around London pretending to be Stanley Kubrick. What makes his situation even funnier is that he knows very little about Kubrick and looks even less like him. Despite the deck being stacked against him, he gets away with it. When falling into his role as Kubrick, Conway is afforded all sorts of mini and mega luxuries. People buy drinks and dinner for him, lend him money, and young gay men even give him *personal* attention. Like I mentioned above, Conway doesn’t really look the part nor does he have the proper background knowledge but for the most part he knows how to play the game. When asked what he is doing now he spews out this grandiose story like “I’m shooting 3001: The Space Odyssey which will do for 3001 what 2001 did for 2001.” And for the most part people eat it up; they are overwhelmed by his celebrity and are willing to buy him gifts to keep him in their presence.

Alan Conway himself is a self proclaimed loser. He has no noticeable job apart from being a con-artist and predator. He dresses like a Roma Gypsy crossed with Madonna circa 1985, which to him is glamorous and fashionable. There is no mental issue with him *thinking* he really is Kubrick, he just loves the celebrity perks that the name affords him.

Directorial wise the movie is brilliant. Brian Cook, who worked with Kubrick as assistant director on Eyes Wide Shut, Barry Lyndon and The Shinning, knows the real Kubrick all to well and was able to pull off some masterful references. The most notable references come from A Clockwork Orange which even serves as a double for the plot of the film. In general, much of the camera work, sound track, and even certain scenes all come from a Kubrick film or have that “Kubrickian” style.

The only fault of the film is that the Conway character is so off-putting. In choosing to play him as this grotesque cross dresser, Malkovich didn’t always create an easy to watch let alone endearing image. He is extremely flamboyant and most of the time creepy. Toning down the flame on Conway might have gone a long way in making this a more re-watchable film. While a little gay is in order to make the Conway character, Malkovich took it over the top.

Even more interesting than the film itself, is the 45-minute featurette Being Alan Conway. In this extended behind-the-scenes, some stories are revealed about the real Alan Conway who posed as Stanly Kubrick for a good part of the 90s. Many of the people involved with Color Me Kubrick also knew about or ran into Conway and have stories to tell about him. He sort of became a mini-celebrity himself after he was discovered. Alan Conway, ironically died 3 months before the real Stanley Kubrick. In addition to Conway stories, the filmmakers have some Kubrick stories to tell as well which is a big bonus for any Kubrick fans out there.

Color Me Kubrick will not be a movie for everyone, as the Alan Conway character has no redeeming qualities and is just a despicable man. Like many of Stanley’s films this movie will have a very select audience. The redeeming qualities for the movie, is how director Brian Cook is able to pull off (for most of the film) the Kubrick-affect, not only mimicking well known scenes from films, but just pulling off the overall feel of a Stanley Kubrick film. There are enough slick references to keep Kubrick fans on their toes, but even better is the behind-the-scenes featurette included on the disc.

5 out of 10 Jackasses
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