Josh Gibbs’s review published on Letterboxd:
I mean yeah. I can totally see why this is heralded as one of the most audacious and impressive artistic achievements ever made, as well as being a seminal piece of science fiction and a straight-up thought provoking film to boot.
So much about this screams 'first!' It felt like almost every other scene I was noticing something this has inspired on some level. The use of music and sound as well as the special effects are genuinely staggering, especially considering this came out all the way back in 1968. The wailing sound that's played whenever life forms come across the monolith is genuinely horrifying and really managed to get under my skin, and all the stuff with Hal is every bit as iconic as it's made out to be (I mean the guy is basically a robotic Hannibal Lecter, except he's probably more emotionally expressive than him, or indeed any other human character in this film.) It's not just a cold, distant or objective appreciation I have for this either, the thing is genuinely entertaining to watch at times.
Even though I've only just received my cinephile card for watching this, go ahead and strip me of it right away because this was also very slow in parts, I have no idea what any of it means and my favourite section was easily the part with, yknow, plot. That said, I can still really appreciate the ambiguous nature of the film and the open-endedness of the ending. It certainly makes me think more than Kubrick explaining it to me would have. I can also admire the fact that it prioritises using filmmaking, visuals and audio to give the audience an experience that literally can't be achieved in any other art form rather than just conveying a simple narrative using conventional methods. And if, as Arthur C. Clarke claims, one of Kubrick’s main intentions with the film was to “create a work of art which would arouse the emotions of wonder, awe... even, if appropriate, terror”, then it certainly worked on me.
I'm glad to finally be able to say I've seen this, and also glad that I can give it time to sit. Oh, and if anyone has any idea how on earth I go about rating something like this, hit me up. I'm gonna go with a 3.5 for now and not think about it too much. Please don't kill me.
Edit: I realised after publishing this while reading some other users' reviews that I'd somehow stupidly managed to rip off some of the exact phrasing that Zach used in his review without realising. I do suggest you go and check out his profile while you're here, he's pretty awesome, and you're sure to find better work there!