Here’s Neil LaBute’s reply:
Outside of perennial holiday fare like The Wizard of Oz, It’s a Wonderful Life, or Salo, I think I’ve watched Stanley Kubrick’s Barry Lyndon more times than any other movie I can remember. (Warren Beatty’s Reds would give it a run for its money—I saw that 14 times in the theater!) For me, Barry Lyndon is the most distinctive and beautiful re-creation of period on film, bar none, and its leisurely pace and novelistic approaches to style—watch the way Kubrick slowly reverse zooms on the opening shot of many scenes, unveiling each new “chapter”—are pure cinematic pleasure. Plus, Ryan O’Neal kicks acting ass in this picture, swaggering through the proceedings with a brutish beauty, until he finally breaks your heart. Chilly and distancing? Sure. Long and filled with voluminous narration? Absolutely. It’s also grandly handsome and furiously savage, and lit by John Alcott with lightning from the gods. It is not to be missed.