Monday, October 26, 2015

Movie Review: "The Shining" (1980)

Image Source
Movie"The Shining"
Director: Stanley Kubrick
Year: 1980
Rating: R
Running Time: 2 hours, 26 minutes

Jack Torrance (Jack Nicholson) is hired as The Overlook hotel's winter caretaker.  He hopes this job will allow him to work on writing his novel. He must live in the hotel with his wife Wendy (Shelley Duval) and his son Danny (Danny Lloyd) completely isolated from October to May. As the weeks go by, the isolation and the hotel's torrid past begin to drive Jack insane.  

This is our third and final review for a film based on a Stephen King novel this Halloween season (not planned, it just happened this way!). Though Stephen King wasn't fond of Stanley Kubrick's take on "The Shining," we personally love it. We can't see it being made any differently with anyone else and being as successful as what wound up on screen in this 1980 version. This film takes place in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado at the very isolated Overlook Hotel. Like we have mentioned in a few other reviews, horror films love the idea of using isolated locations as settings. This isolation is particularly important to a film like "The Shining" where mood is so crucial and vital. Being cut off from the rest of the world is a major factor in Jack's descent into madness. This film is visually stunning and masterfully directed, even though we haven't always been fans of Kubrick's works. The imagery that runs throughout the story, coupled with its simplistic yet terrorizing story, is nothing short of brilliant. It creates a tense and unnerving overall mood and one we think the movies of today should strive to achieve.

Now, as great as these visuals are, "The Shining" wouldn't be half as good as it is without the performances of Jack Nicholson, who plays Jack Torrance, and Shelley Duvall who plays Jack's wife Wendy. It is these two performances that really make this movie despite what anyone else may have you believe. Nicholson's face is perfect and ideal for a man who spirals into a murderous psychosis after months of isolation and just the right dose of disaster from his personal life. A lot of it has to do with his eyebrows that naturally come to a devilish point. When he moves his face in certain directions, it really sell his sinister thoughts and inner mental state. Jack Nicholson also has the ability to go from calm, cool, and charming to an intense ball of rage at the drop of a hat. He really shows why he is one of the finest actors of his generation in this film. Of course, Jack needs a good actress to compliment his acting, and Shelley Duvall offers just that. We really don't think she receives her proper due for the excellent performance she delivers in this film. Wendy is calm and demure and she definitely has some uneasy feelings about her husband. She's willing to do whatever she needs to in order to protect her son Danny from her husband. Once Jack's murderous desire start to come out, Duvall sells Wendy's frantic fear extremely well, and you can also see her inner conflict of needing to protect herself versus her apprehension for hurting her husband on her face. The scenes where she is running in the show, or scream bloody murder, or dragging Jack's body across the floor, you can tell the physicality of a role like this from a mile away for both Duvall and Nicholson, who does his fair share of running through mazes and chopping down doors.

Over the years, this film has become iconic and is recognized as one of the greatest horror films of all time. We definitely agree and don't honestly see why or how anyone can hate it. Sure, it might be a little long and is definitely an investment time-wise, but the stellar acting, brilliant dialogue, near perfect directing, amazing soundtrack, and flawless imagery make "The Shining" legendary.

My Rating: 9.5/10
BigJ's Rating: 9/10
IMDB's Rating: 8.4/10
Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 91%
Do we recommend this movie: ABSOLUTELY YES!!!
Two years ago, we were watching: "Tales from the Crypt: Demon Knight"

One year ago, we were watching: "Blood Feast"

No comments:

Post a Comment