Mark Finnegan’s review published on Letterboxd:
There are many movies that are so hyped up by the film community that they simply can never hope to fulfil one's expectations upon viewing. Examples of these for me include Fight Club and Citizen Kane. Fortunately, Stanley Kubrick's 2001: A Space Odyssey does not merely live up the hype, but exceeds everything that I could have hoped for.
From the opening notes of Richard Strauss' Thus Spoke Zarathustra over a black screen, I was enthralled. Over the following two and a half hours, my eyes barely left the television. This movie is truly one of the most incredible feats in the history of the arts, and has solidified Stanley Kubrick in my eyes as one of the everlasting masters of cinema.
It was incredible to see the film that has inspired so much science fiction: Interstellar, Arrival, Star Wars, Alien, even Blade Runner all pay debt to this movie. From its mind-boggling visual effects to its simply legendary soundtrack and sound design, the technical prowess on display was a joy to behold.
This is also quite possibly one of the most aesthetically beautiful films I have ever seen. The vast emptiness of space is contrasted so terrifically with celestial bodies and gargantuan space stations. It is an exceptionally colourful film, with the "Jupiter and Beyond The Infinite" sequence standing out as nothing less than a visual feast for the eyes, in one of the most utterly mesmeric series of shots that I have ever seen. Ray Lovejoy's editing is stellar from beginning to end and tied together all of the magnificent cinematography perfectly.
The film's narrative is always engaging, and one of the most thematically rich that I have come across. The stoic acting from Keir Dullea and William Sylvester serves the motif of mankind's evolution from animals excellently, and HAL 9000, voiced marvellously by Douglas Rain, is one of my all-time favourite movie villains, right up there with Heath Ledger's Joker and Darth Vader. Leaving plenty up to the viewer to interpret, while providing lots of solid foundation to build enough theories on, the screenplay from Kubrick and Arthur C. Clarke is just fantastic.
2001: A Space Odyssey is nothing less than an ectastic symphony of sight and sound. One of the best movie viewings of my life, and a film that I shall readily call a masterpiece as well as a permanent favourite of mine that I cannot wait to watch again.