The Kubrick Game was a book I can truthfully say I knew nothing about when Luke (Co-host/webmaster of this very site) sent it to me after he was initially given the book after talking to the author. Luke thought I’d like this book considering I’m a huge fan of films and filmmaking.
So with some concern I opened the file to read this review copy of the book and then my head exploded!
Not in a horror movie style but with the knowledge that someone finally got ‘us’. Who I refer to is film students (yep straight after school I ventured into the world of film school and filmmaking). Film students aren’t always very well represented in any form of media really. We are generally labelled with the ‘too artsy’ or ‘too nerdy’ crowd. Which may be right for some of us but there are also some that just have a burning desire to tell stories via this wonderful medium of film where we fit really isn’t the important part but the love of film is what connects us. It is this aching feeling that up until now hasn’t been dealt with much.
This book perfectly displays all facets of the world with such authentic delight that the love of filmmaking and Kubrick is clear with each word. Now I must confess that when it comes to my personal ‘heroes of cinema’ Kubrick isn’t at the top. What can I say I’m a Lucas/Spielberg fanatic but that being said all film buffs know the legends and truths surrounding Kubrick and his amazing contribution to cinema. The man was a legend and his influence is still felt today.
So when going into reading this novel I was a little worried I’d be lost but Derek Taylor Kent has given the reader more than enough information on even the most minuscule detail of Kubrick’s life and films that you will never feel lost but more likely intrigued to find out more. The main characters are each filled with complexity and importantly a sense of reality that you can’t help but love them and want them to succeed even when things get dark and their choices may not be exactly the way you might have assumed at the beginning but feel natural given what we know about each of the characters.
The main character of Shawn is wonderful and watching him navigate the complexities of life while living with autism is so fresh and exciting to read that I hope other writers can one day do justice to people with these kinds of issues as well as presented here. There isn’t a pandering to the subject of autism nor is there any time that it feels like the author is attempting to make a statement. Shawn has autism and that’s that.
The book is a puzzle like the title suggests but it is one that feels so intricately conceived that thinking the master of control that was Kubrick could very well have come up with this kind of thing doesn’t feel that farfetched. As a director who was obviously enamoured with details so too does this book that has his name in the title feel authenticity detailed and the research that must have been undertaken to get all the details right should be commended.
If I have one issue with the book it would be that I almost liked it too much because now I really feel like I need to weigh up whether this or Ready Player One is my favourite modern novel. Both have spoken to worlds I love so much. This novel is film while the other is games/pop culture. In a perfect world Kent and Cline would write a novel together and blow the collective minds of the world apart. The ending is fantastic and I’m so over the moon that Kent didn’t……oh right I should probably shut up now because that ending…well let’s say it is very cool indeed.
So go and grab this book and give it a try. It has a great mystery that needs solving, realistic characters, pulse pounding pace and a fluid writing prose that feels just right for this kind of story.
Review by Jo.
(on a side note check out the author’s site where I got the image and videos from http://www.derektaylorkent.com/kubricksgame/)