« Behind the Burly Q | Main | Harry Brown »

April 26, 2010

THE SHINING — CLASSIC FILM PICK

ColesmitheyStanley Kubrick's 1980 adaptation of Stephen King's novel is a post-modern waking nightmare interspersed with surrealistic touches, ambiguous subtexts, and jabs of dark humor. As with all of Kubrick's work, the film is so visually hyper composed that it burns its formally stylized imagery into your memory banks forever. Style and substance combine to scare audiences with filmic tension.

Billed as a psychological horror film, the strange narrative follows author Jack Torrance (Jack Nicholson) who takes on a wintertime caretaker position at a remote and empty Colorado hotel called the Overlook to work on his next book. His boring wife Wendy (Shelly Duvall) and telepathically receptive eight-year-old son Danny (Danny Lloyd) entertain themselves by his side. Built on an Indian burial ground, the Overlook Hotel has its share of ghosts — the previous caretaker killed his family and himself there. Strange paranormal influences appear; they speak directly to Jack and to his young son.

Theshining

For much of the movie it remains unclear whether the father or boy will be the instrument of evil that the story threatens to unleash. Complete with a giant outdoor hedge maze and vast empty interior spaces, the hotel comes to queasy life in places like its Gold Room bar where chatty Jack talks about problems with his wife to an all too empathetic bartender of abstract origin.

Moments of sheer comic expression, like Jack's axe-wielding rendition of "Heeeere's Johnny" (think Johnny Carson) when he attacks his wife, buttress against disturbing revelations, like the insanely repetitive text of Jack's manuscript.

The-shining

These illogical events work to layer the film with strangely effective brushstrokes of dread and horror. An elevator full of blood spills its load with an otherworldly fury.

Although widely panned upon its release by critics who didn't get the film's complex play between tone and thematic import, "The Shining" has deservedly come to be regarded as a tour de force of contemporary cinema. Oh the horror.

Shining

Rated R. 146 mins. (A) (Five stars — out of five / no halves)


COLE SMITHEYA small request: Help keep Cole Smithey writing reviews, creating video essays, and making podcasts. Click on the button to pledge your support through Patreon, and receive special rewards!

PATREON BUTTON

Click Here to Pledge Your Support Through Patreon

Comments

Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.

Verify your Comment

Previewing your Comment

This is only a preview. Your comment has not yet been posted.

Working...
Your comment could not be posted. Error type:
Your comment has been saved. Comments are moderated and will not appear until approved by the author. Post another comment

The letters and numbers you entered did not match the image. Please try again.

As a final step before posting your comment, enter the letters and numbers you see in the image below. This prevents automated programs from posting comments.

Having trouble reading this image? View an alternate.

Working...

Post a comment

Comments are moderated, and will not appear until the author has approved them.

Featured Video

SMART NEW MEDIA® Custom Videos

COLE SMITHEY’S MOVIE WEEK

COLE SMITHEY’S CLASSIC CINEMA

Throwback Thursday


Podcast Series