Review: The Shining
The Shining is a 1980 British-American psychological horror film produced and directed by Stanley Kubrick, co-written with novelist Diane Johnson, and starring Jack Nicholson, Shelley Duvall, Danny Lloyd, and Scatman Crothers. The film is based on Stephen King's 1977 novel of the same name, though there are significant changes. In the film, Jack Torrance, a writer and recovering alcoholic, takes a job as an off-season caretaker at the isolated Overlook Hotel. His young son possesses psychic abilities and is able to see things from the past and future, such as the ghosts who inhabit the hotel. Soon after settling in, the family is trapped in the hotel by a snowstorm, and Jack gradually becomes influenced by a supernatural presence, descends into madness, and ultimately attempts to murder his wife and son. Unlike previous Kubrick films, which developed an audience gradually by building on word-of-mouth, The Shining was released as a mass-market film, opening at first in just two cities on Memorial Day, then nationwide a month later. Although initial response to the film was mixed, later critical assessment was more favorable and it is now listed among the greatest horror movies, while some have viewed it as one of the greatest films of all time. Film director Martin Scorsese, writing in The Daily Beast, ranked it as one of the 11 scariest horror movies of all time. Film critics, film students, and Kubrick's producer Jan Harlan, have remarked on the enormous influence the film has had on popular culture. The initial European release of The Shining was 25 minutes shorter than the American version, achieved by removing most of the scenes taking place outside the environs of the hotel.
I can't remember how long it has been since I have read The Shining - now that Doctor Sleep is written it is certainly time for a re-read so I can brush up on the details of the book. I have seen the movie many, many times. Now that my girls are older, they really love watching scary movies. The Shining was on last night so we decided to watch it (I can quote many of the lines, that is how many times I have seen it). Let me start out by saying that Jack Nicholson is one of my favorite actors, just like Stephen King is one of my favorite (if not my favorite) authors. So, while writing this review I do struggle just a little. I think it is a good thing I haven't read the book in quite some time, that way I can review the movie on its merits, and not on the shortfalls it may have compared to the book (from what I remember, there are many). Jack Nicholson in the role of Jack Torrence is truly brilliant. You know from the beginning of the movie that something is 'off' with him, and as the movie progresses that is more and more evident. An alcoholic writer, Jack takes the only job available to him at the time, the caretaker/overseer of The Overlook hotel. He will oversee the upkeep over the winter months with his wife and young son, Danny. But, Danny has 'The Shining', a power that allows him to see things in the future and also to communicate without speaking. He sees terrifying images of the hotel and does not want to go. Once the snow falls the family will essentially be trapped in the hotel for the duration of the season, not leaving until April. When they arrive they become acclimated, and Danny meets Dick Halloran, the chef and someone to also has 'The Shining'. He explains to Danny what it is, and that they are not alone. Danny is afraid of the hotel, but Dick reassures him, telling him that everything will be ok. Jack takes up writing, and Wendy and Danny fall into a routine of their own. But, things start happening...terrible things. And Jack is at the helm. The descent into craziness that Jack Torrence portrays is absolutely frightening. When he talks with Danny in his room (when Danny goes to get a toy and Jack is supposed to be napping) the look on Jack's face when Danny answers says it all...along with the conversation they have. And, let's be honest, with one of the most recognizable scenes, even those that haven't seen the movie know this scene: Add Link Here