Tuesday, November 18, 2014

281 of 1001 Movies: The Shining (1980)

Earlier this year I read The Shining for the first time. I have certain movies I won't watch, until I've read the book, and this was one of them. I also found it intriguing that Stephen King has such hate for the movie considering other adaptations, like, you know...Under the Dome. The Shining definitely differs in a lot of ways, and Kubrick adds all his own touches to the film. I can't say that so far I'm hugely sold on Kubrick, but his stylish yet minimal way of shooting is entrancing, and brings out the horror more than anything else could.

Summary: Jack Torrance finds an opportunity for good work at the Overlook hotel. Upon being hired for the job it comes with a warning. The last family that lived there alone for the winter turned into a tragedy of a story. Jack takes the job with no hesitance though, and moves into the hotel for the winter with his wife, Wendy, and son, Danny. At first the weeks begin peacefully until the horrors that have happened in the hotel in the past bring the hotel to life, and it consumes Jack and Danny in very different ways.

The Shining is a classic horror movie that anyone, horror fan and not alike, have heard of. There a couple of reasons the movie is a classic. One being the performance of Jack Nicholson as Jack Torrance, and the direction of Stanley Kubrick. This is one of the few movies that even a non-Kubrick fan can enjoy as for the first time he seems to drop a lot of the deeper and psychological analyzing in this movie, in lieu of just giving straight horror.

Jack Nicholson does a great job as the guy Jack Torrance, at least in making him look psycho. Movie wise there is no other guy you can imagine doing it. I don't know if this can be more attributed to the script, I would assume so, but the guy starts out crazy and ends crazy. Perhaps it's just me, or the fact I read the book, but I would have liked to see a guy who was more so a victim of his of his own weakness who was trying to be really just a good guy. Ultimately, that is one of the huge differences in the vibe between the book and movie. For Danny especially, he really wants to love his dad, and the moments his dad shows him love as a father, you have hope for Jack. Jack though battles with a lot of demons, most strongly alcohol. Without all those elements at play it makes the hotel taking him over look a little less scary, because they never had a guy to corrupt from the place he worked hard to recover from. Plus, the whole issue with Danny and The Shining, and what the shining even is seems a lot less prominent, and even not understandable in comparison to how the story could have played it.

As said, this is shocking considering Kubrick adapted the likes of, A Clockwork Orange. Maybe that is because I never cared for the writing of that book though, so the adaptation was clearer to me. It seems like he would be good at throwing us into the chaos of a troubled mind, particularly one that is naturally bad and you can't change no matter how much is tried. The huge different between the lead character in that one and Jack Torrance, is that Torrance was actually a guy the audience could try to hope changed because he wasn't hardened in the heart yet, but the movie makes it out that he is. The direction though is very sleek and Kubrick though. Everything from the scenes involving Redrum to the ending scenes in the garden capture the terror you imagine when choosing to watch a movie like this, and Kubrick still holds his own style in the middle of it all.

Overall,The Shining is a horror classic. For the time it was released it wasn't anything like the horror that was really driving the market of then, and it does have real terrifying moments. I hate to sound pretentious, but it's more so horror for the fan who doesn't want to openly like the genre of horror as a whole. By the way, I should bring up the only I didn't like about the movie because it was a distraction, and that was Shelley Duvall as Wendy. Why she was ever cast I don't know? Her role is just screaming, and running around in bewilderment. She doesn't contribute much, and isn't near as strong as the book version of her. Otherwise, I did enjoy the changes in the ending, was really terrified, and will drag the movie back out again for Halloween sometime.

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