Wednesday, 18 January 2012

The Shining (1980) Review

film art

The Shining is a psychological film based on the Stephen King’s novel of the same name; the film is directed by Stanley Kubrick, stars Jack Nicholson Shelley Duvall and Danny Lloyd. The film follows around the lives of Jack Torrance’s family as he takes a job as a caretaker at an isolated hotel. His son possesses psychic abilities and is able to see things from the past and future especially the ghosts from the hotel. However during their stay at the hotel, Jack gradually becomes in possession by something supernatural, causing him to go into madness and attempts to murder his wife and son.
The famouse corridor and trike scene
Set in an isolated hotel during the winter storm, the interior design is mostly filled with patterns, corridors and mirrors that helps create the uncanny feel. “Alive with portent and symbolism, every frame of the film brims with Kubrick's genius for implying psychological purpose in setting: the hotel's tight, sinister labyrinth of corridors; its cold, sterile bathrooms; the lavish, illusionary ballroom.” (Nathan, 2008)
Twins, patterns and corridors add in the uncanny atmosphere

To add more of the uncanny effect into the film, it is noticed that at first whilst they travel together in the car to the hotel, Jack appears to be slightly sinister toward his family and by the time they’ve settled in, the relationship between each character appears to be slightly unstable. Having Danny with his “thumb friend” Tony adds to the mystery and suspense of the film especially when coming from a young age the child speaks in a complete different tone to acts as Tony. Though throughout the course of the film, the audience is questioned that are all the characters turned into the madness and this is all made up or reality, “If Danny is a reliable witness, he is witness to specialized visions of his own that may not correspond to what is actually happening in the hotel... That leaves us with a closed-room mystery: In a snowbound hotel, three people descend into versions of madness or psychic terror, and we cannot depend on any of them for an objective view of what happens. It is this elusive open-endedness that makes Kubrick's film so strangely disturbing” (Ebert, 2006). Some even went to say that it was perhaps the hotel that was in control and possessing each of the characters, “The father is gradually possessed by the demonic, desolate hotel.” (Variety, 1980)

List of Illustrations:

Kubrick, S (1980) IMDB- Film art (online):

Kubrick, S (1980) The famouse corridor and trike scene (onilne):

Poselli, A (2008) Twins, patterns and corridors add in the uncanny atmosphere (online):


Nathan, I (2008) EMPIRE ESSAY: The Shining (online):

Ebert, R (1980) The Shining (1980) (online):

Variety staff (1980) The Shining (online):

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