Film Review: The Shining

The Shining is Kubrick’s look at a writer in psychological horror, in a grand-hotel with ample room to think and brood. Jack Nicholson stars as the writer Jack Torrance, who takes this job as a caretaker of a hotel during the harsh winter days, where the set-up for no communication provides a looming doom for the victims of madness. The empty solitude of the hotel provides eerie spacial shots done by Kubrick, most famously Jack’s son Danny’s riding through the hotel on his toddler bike.

The relationship between Jack and Wendy, played by Shelly Duvall, is strained, and their is no doubt signs of Wendy’s inferior nature and fearfulness of Jack. She won’t stand up to him, but she will elude him. She has no idea the depth of Jack’s anger and madness; Kubrick effectively uses the spaciness of the hotel to employ the space between Wendy and Jack, especially in a scene where Wendy is looking to talk to Jack while he is writing and he bursts into an echoing storm of anger. The young boy is played well, in an innocent yet intelligent way, and sees frightening visions of the past and future in the hotel. The young girls, and the blood caving through the walls and into the hallway like a stream, are beyond the sight of children; besides physically, their can’t be much done to Danny by Jack that would frighten him, and in this regard I don’t think Kubrick effectively depict’s Danny’s trauma. The one thing he does show Danny is a bit frightened by is the older black-man, who deals with the food, yet that seems like an almost racial bigotry that is pointless in Danny’s overall psyche.

The movie does not end the same as the novel, and Stephen King disregards it because of the fact; but we can tell that Kubrick wasn’t so much interested in story, but tension; because of the atmosphere, the scenery of the frozen wasteland, we are subjected to great shots of the wintery forests and the strange botany surrounding the Hotel, like a tall, symmetrical shrub that acts like a maze to be lost in.  The movie takes us through  a wild journey of terror and deceit, of visions, and paranoia; It is a true exploration of the human mind, though it doesn’t add much substance to the visions and suspense.

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