Color Me Kubrick
© 2007 by C.E. Murphy. All Rights Reserved.
John Malkovich as notorious Stanley Kubrick impostor
Alan Conway in
COLOR ME KUBRICK  
Photo courtesy of Magnolia Pictures.

For the past several decades, we have all been
living in a world in which the culture of the
celebrity has become first and foremost. There
are numerous television shows that traffic in
the minutia of the lives of
well-known figures. There are even places
where you can hire a lookalike for whatever
reason. It seems that most people want to
somehow bask in the reflected glory of a the
famous.

Now, think about someone who makes movies
but prefers to remain as anonymous as
possible. Someone who doesn't give interviews
or doesn't seek the white hot limelight. Is there
such a person? Well, there was one filmmaker
in the second half of the 20th Century who fit
that bill: Stanley Kubrick. The Bronx-born
director and screenwriter decamped for England
in the early 1960s and his penchant for avoiding
the press led to his being labeled a "recluse"
among other things. (That this was something
of a misnomer doesn't seem to matter.)

Perhaps not surprisingly then, a man by the
name of Alan Conway parlayed his limited
knowledge about Stanley Kubrick into a rather
long-lived confidence game. For about a half
dozen years in the 1990s, Conway went around
London pretending to be Kubrick. Director Brian
W. Cook (in his feature directorial debut) and
screenwriter Anthony Frewin have made a
"true... ish story" based on Conway's life called
COLOR ME KUBRICK. What they've ended up
with onscreen is a relatively brief movie that
provides a showcase for actor John Malkovich in
the leading role.

Malkovich pulls out all the stops as Conway -- a
flamboyantly gay man who utilized Kubrick's
name to cadge free drinks, seduce
impressionable (and attractive) young guys,
and freeload off of a well-known but closeted
British celebrity (portrayed by Jim Davidson).
The filmmakers opted for a more episodic
structure (with the occasional flashback) and I
do have to say that by the end of the 87
minutes, I was growing weary of the shtick.
Maybe it's because I'm not that big a fan of
Malkovich's; for me a little of him goes a very
long way.

Perhaps it was also that the story was
becoming repetitious. In the end, Conway
managed to evade fully paying for his crimes by
pulling off yet another con, so perhaps it was
that the screenwriter couldn't find the proper
denouement.

The large cast features some well known
individuals ranging from Richard E. Grant as a
nightclub owner to Honor Blackman as a brothel
proprietor to Marissa Berenson (who starred in
Kubrick's
BARRY LYNDON) as New York Times
reporter Alex Witchell Rich as well as up and
coming performers like Ayesha Dharker as a
psychiatrist and Mark Umbers as a rent boy.


  
Rating:            B-
  
Running time:  87 mins.