Thursday, 11 December 2014

Film Review: "The Shining" (1980)

Figure 1: Movie poster

This beautifully directed adaptation of the Stephen King novel by Stanley Kuberick is a thrilling and honorific work of art. Right from the start you begin to feel a sense of tension building and developing as the main character, a struggling writer Jack Torrence (Jack Nicholson) takes on a one of job as an off season caretaker of a secluded hotel during the winter months. As the isolation and frustration of the hotel start to really effect Jack he begins to turn against his family.

Figure 2: a scene showing the inside of the hotel

Kubrick doesn't give us any completely clear answers in the type of relationship jack has wife his wife Wendy (Shelley Duvall) have but you are given the impression that relationships been hostile for a while in the way that Wendy is forever nervous and seems to be a suffering wife to her husband who is extremely sarcastic, short tempered and perhaps has had some trouble with alcohol. Danny Jack's son is gifted with physic power, he has an imaginary friend called Tony who warns him of the evil that is within the hotel walls. Tony tells Danny the story of the old care taker who went stir crazy and lost his mind, Tony also tells Danny that the caretaker killed his wife and his two daughters who also appear to Danny throughout the film. The set is a key feature in what makes this film so great as its visually stunning and starts out to be a beautiful opportunity to explore the depths of the hotel and it gradually starts to change into being more maze with no escape. Peter Bradshaw coments on the set saying "instead of the cramped darkness and panicky quick editing of the standard-issue scary movie, Kubrick gives us the eerie, colossal, brilliantly lit spaces of the Overlook Hotel" (P Bradshaw, The Guardian 2012).

Figure 3: still shot of jack loosing his mind

There is no doubt that Kubrick is known for his attention to detail and his methods of directing films but "The Shining" (1980) is his crown jewel and best master piece in creating a film the way he wanted it. Ian Nathan states in Empire that "; Nicholson was force fed endless cheese sandwiches (which he loathes) to generate a sense of inner revulsion, and the recent invention of the Steadicam (by Garret Brown) fuelled Kubrick's obsessive quest for perfection. The result is gloriously precision-made."(I Nathan Empire).

Figure 4: Th most iconic scene throughout the scene.

The whole film is incredibly intense and is constantly making the viewer feel uneasy and on the edge of their seats whilst watching the film. A journalist for the New York Times confirms this statement by saying "The Shining may be the first movie that ever made its audience jump with a title that simply says "Tuesday". (J Maslin, NY times 1980).

Illustration List

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P Bradshaw, The Guardian 2012:

I Nathan, Empire:

J Maslin, New York Times 1980:

1 comment:

  1. Good review!
    See my previous comments on 'Repulsion'...