The Shining (1980)

Jack Torrance (Jack Nicholson) accepts a job being a winter caretaker for the Overlook Hotel. Bringing his wife Wendy (Shelley Duvall) and son Danny (Danny Lloyd), the Torrance family is isolated from civilization. As time goes on something is going on at the hotel that can’t be explained and something is going on with Jack.

Director: Stanley Kubrick

Cast: Jack Nicholson, Shelley Duvall, Danny Llyod, Scatman Crothers, Philip Stone.

MPAA Rating: R for language, thematic elements.

Fun Fact: Stanley Kubrick lived in England for a stretch of time so he didn’t know anything about the Johnny Carson on the Tonight Show. Jack Nicholson improvised the Here’s Johnny line and Kubrick almost didn’t use it in the final cut.

Released in 1980, The Shining divided both critics and audience members. Stephen King the author of the novel has expressed his displeasure of the final product. The film was nominated for Razzies for worst director and actress which to me is insane.

This film is in my Top 10 easily and one of the greatest horror films of all time. For the opening shot you will get sucked into the film. The cinematography is top notch, clean, and well focused. Some of my favorite parts of the film are the colors. It brings the hotel to life and and the use of natural light through the windows makes everything bigger. With these technical achievements, you get the perfect set up for an atmospheric horror film. There is something going on with this hotel and it isn’t good to anyone’s sanity. Kubrick was known for his visuals and this is a great example of his greatness. Kubrick was a perfectionist and that leads to….

The acting is the bread and butter of the film. Jack Nicholson owns the role of Jack Torrance. Nicholson is an intense actor and this role is perfect for him as his character slowly starts to break down and go insane. I believe Shelley Duvall gets a lot of unwarranted criticism for her performance. Kubrick was terrible to her and it pretty much shell shocked her. To me she brings that to her performance and it shines. Nicholson and Duvall both said this was the hardest working experience they ever had. Danny Lloyd dials in a great child performance that is memorable. All three of them has a great chemistry to them.

The choice of music was another thing I highly enjoy. Instead of using a single composer, many different composers are used. The music is more like different noises and most of them are haunting and fit well. It makes the more disturbing scenes even more disturbing. It brings needed tension where tension was needed or not.

The tremendous part of The Shining is that Kubrick takes you on a visual journey that leaves you wondering about the hotel. Was Jack always part of the hotel is the biggest question that you will have. I don’t want to go too far out because I want you to decide on that and the answers lie in the film with the surroundings.

Overall, The Shining is one of the greatest horror films ever made. Kubrick shows his obsession with perfection and it he delivers such a satisfying product. The acting is top notch, the technical choices are top notch, and it all blends in together perfectly. I have to watch this film every year and I still feel the same way that I always do and that’s I can’t get enough of it. I can’t believe it took me this long to talk about it and I’m glad I finally did.

Verdict: Hit


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