MOVIE REVIEW: “The Shining” stars Jack Nicholson (Batman , As Good as It Gets), Shelley Duvall (Popeye , Annie Hall), Danny Lloyd, Scatman Crothers (One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, The AristoCats), Barry Nelson (Airport, Shadow of the Thin Man), Joe Turkel (Blade Runner, Paths of Glory), and Philip Stone (Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, A Clockwork Orange). It is directed by Stanley Kubrick (2001: A Space Odyssey, Full Metal Jacket). Once thought as a fun retreat turns into nightmare when writer Jack Torrance (Nicholson) signs a contract to take care of a hotel with his family over the winter months while it is closed. This hotel is not your average hotel, having a dark past that begins bubbling to the surface the longer they stay. It takes a toll on everyone, especially Jack, escalating to a climax that is sure to get people on the edge of their seat.
“Heeeere’s Johnny!” The classic horror film that I have yet to see, “The Shining” finally found its way to my viewing, and boy was it a trip. I have never seen a Kubrick movie, and to start this review in terms of what I like, I’d love to talk about the directing. Most directors are bunched together in their style, creating this aura in which you can’t tell who it is that directed it, taking away a signature that all directors strive for. There are gems in the film industry, people who you can tell right away whose film it is. One that comes to mind is Wes Anderson with his bold yellows and browns and his camera angles that detail a room or zoom in on one particular object. Having seen “The Shining”, I found a new style and it was something refreshing. Something that Kubrick performs well in this film is getting his crew to follow his cast while keeping the camera steady. Wide-shot walking scenes that prolong in order to have you take a journey with them really complement this movie’s way of writing. For example, when Jack’s son Danny (Lloyd), is riding his little three-wheeler in the hallways the camera follows his riding, never taking cuts but to show you the front of him riding from time to time. I enjoyed watching this movie in the sense of directing, giving me one aspect to just take and talk about with others besides the plot itself. With the directing came the color tones and because this film is set in the late 70’s to early 80’s (filmed in ’79, released in 80′) you get bold, psychedelic colors of the inside of the hotel, while offering the chilling blues of the outdoor snow-laden nature. It is really interesting to watch. Besides imagery, the acting was really good. The best actor was of course Jack Nicholson, giving me a crazy and intense performance that really brings chills. I haven’t seen Shelley Duvall, who played Wendy Torrance, since “Popeye”, but she did a great job in this film as well, portraying a characteristic that is in a way needy, but the most sane person of the bunch. Fantastic children actors are hard to come by, and I think Danny Lloyd did well for the most part. Some of his expressions were unintentionally laughable, but he did the best he could for his first, and last, film gig. When it comes to the story itself, it is really hard to review. Basically it is a movie that takes until three-quarters in or two viewings to firmly appreciate. I thought it was great halfway through and once you begin to enjoy it, you never let go of it. I think what was a major blow to this plotline was how much it foreshadowed in the beginning to the point where I laughed. Once Jack was interviewed and shown around the hotel for the first time, I can’t tell you how many things they said that basically told you what was going to happen or how bad it was going to get. At one point, the hotel owner said “this hotel was built on an Indian burial ground”…I mean, come on man! Who would hang out there?! Because of all the foreshadowing, it becomes predictable, but really the plotline can spoil the endgame of this film. Plus, it’s well-known anyway. But, if you never heard of it, it is a real bummer how you can figure it out in the beginning. Little details aren’t told, but the overall picture is told early on. Now, that is the major con I had with the film. There are two others, but I will explain those at the end. Really, what I loved about this plotline was the edginess of it all. I didn’t get scared for the most part, mainly because I was with someone watching it (not a fan of the horror genre myself), but it offered a great thrill towards the end with a good payoff. Of course some things look cheesy and can make you laugh at times, but in retrospect I had a great time with it. It gave me great camera angles, fantastic acting, and a story that besides the foreshadowing is fun to watch unfold. The two cons I mentioned before are minor. The first being how the musical score was hard to get used to. For a while it was loud, obnoxious, and was just offsetting. It took until halfway through for it to really shine. Finally the last con is one scene involving Jack and a ghost woman that wish I never saw. I fast-forward through it because it got awkward with my brother in the room, but I saw a part that really made me cringe and want to wash my eyes out. Overall, I believe that this film lives up to its classic status and although I am not a horror fan, I enjoyed this film thoroughly. I recommend anyone that is the right age to take a gander! FINAL SCORE: 94% =Juicy Popcorn
Here is the trailer: