The Shining

The Shining(1980)
Director: Stanley Kubrick
Stars: Jack Nicholson, Shelly Duvall, Danny Lloyd, Scatman Crothers and others.

The Shining is a complex tale of terror which takes shifts from the physical and the mental, obscuring us with its ambiguity. It is one of the rare examples in cinema where the director takes complete control of the adaptation rather than being controlled by the adaptation.  Kubrick does that so meticulously to surpass King’s vision of the same material. The Shining is also one of the finest examples of atmospheric and claustrophobic horror. It takes us into a world of chilling metaphors and puzzling paradoxes to sinks us deep in its supernatural abstract vision, enabling multiple interpretations and perspectives.

We see the Shining from a totally supernatural standpoint (of course it can be interpreted in other ways with regards to the preferences and thoughts of the viewer).  The “Overlook Hotel” being the sole orchestrator of horror, casts its psychic spell on the protagonist Jack Torrance and it succeeds in completely consuming him to unify him with its time line. During this process, Danny(the son of Jack Torrance) channels the extreme nuances of the hotel with his ability of “Shining”. Dick Hallorann, a worker of the hotel is the constant observer of Danny’s shining and together they channel their visions. The Overlook Hotel is an existential paradox where time is a non-linear quantity. The hotel is an object of its own subjectivity and it parades its inmates towards madness with the most significant aspect of itself, “The Room 237”. In simpler terms, Jack Torrance becomes a manifestation of the hotel’s psychic existence.

This film is technically engaging. Kubrick sets the right atmosphere with the appropriate usage of avant-garde music composed by Krzysztof Penderecki and György Ligeti to perfectly blend them with John Alcott’s rectilinear cinematography. The film is fine tuned to every single detail, where every object and colour does a great significance to its world where sanity is of complete insignificance.  The usage of silence is remarkable. It makes every conversation in the film unsettling.

All the actors shone throughout the Shining in its neatly crafted script. One of the most commendable features of this film comes from Jack Nicholson’s brutal portrayal of Jack Torrance. Nicholson gets into the skin of  Jack Torrance with impeccable adroitness making it one of his greatest performances on screen. There is no need to save praises for Kubrick, for every film he has given us is a relic. The Shining is brilliant in all its technical and non-technical aspects making it one of our favorite horrors of all time!

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