For years, Stanley Kubrick hid this film from the public, even going as far as secretly buying up all the copies of the film to make sure it never saw the light of day. But no longer.
A visionary director who brought us Eyes Wide Shut, Full Metal Jacket, The Shining, 2001: A Space Odyssey and A Clockwork Orange, not to mention a wealth of other films, Kubrick died in 1999. His films are still cult classics, and he is known as one of the best directors of all time.
Meticulous and careful in his work, it’s hard to think of a film he’s been behind that hasn’t been up to the incredible standards of the rest of his filmography. But seemingly he felt this way about the $10,000 film Fear and Desire, the story of men trapped behind enemy lines in a war of two anonymous countries.
The film was released in 1953, which makes it Kubrick’s first ever feature film, and extremely important to those who would seek to understand his work and legacy.
Chilling, dark and depraved (so, definitely a Kubrick, then), Fear and Desire explores the hypocrisy of war, the state of the human mind on the battlefield, and whether or not you can trust men who have been trained to do nothing but kill. So, similar to Full Metal Jacket in some ways, but also exploring the psychosis of violence-addicted men, a la Malcolm McDowell’s “Alex” in A Clockwork Orange.
For those who adore his work, it’s a must. For those who don’t, give it another try when the remastered film comes back into cinemas. If not, the film is free of copyright law, so you’re welcome to hunt it down on the web if you like pixellated mish-mash recordings.