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The Shining [1980] - 3.97

Stanley Kubrick's The Shining is less an adaptation of Stephen King's best-selling horror novel than a complete re-imagining of it from the inside out. In King's book, the Overlook Hotel is a haunted place that takes possession of its off-season caretaker and provokes him to murderous rage against his wife and young son. Kubrick's film is an existential Road Runner cartoon (his steadicam scurrying through the hotel's labyrinthine hallways), in which the cavernously empty spaces inside the Overlook Hotel mirror the emptiness in the soul of the blocked writer settled in for a long winter's hibernation. As many have pointed out, King's protagonist goes mad, but Kubrick's Jack Torrance (Jack Nicholson) is Looney Tunes from the moment we meet him--all arching eyebrows and mischievous grin. (Both Nicholson and Shelley Duvall reach new levels of hysteria in their performances, driven to extremes by the director's fanatical demand s for take after take after take.) The Shining is terrifying--but not in the way fans of the novel might expect. When it was redone as a TV mini-series (reportedly because of King's dissatisfaction with the Kubrick film), the famous topiary-animal attack (which was deemed impossible to film in 1980) was there--but the deeper horror was lost. Kubrick's The Shining gets under your skin and chills your bones; it stays with you, inhabits you, haunts you. And there's no place to hide... --Jim Emerson, Amazon.com

Customer reviews (av rating: 4.5):

Rating: 5:
all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy... : Though not Kubrick's best, "The Shining" is a true horror classic: full of atmosphere, haunting backdrops, chilling soundtrack, masterful camerawork (especially low-angle tracking shots are excellent), and Jack Nicholson's razor-sharp acting are combined with Kubrick's perfectionism and his keen eye for detail. The result is an awesome experience, you'll never forget.

Even at the very beginning you expect something sinister will happen. A creepy music on the background, a yellow Volkswagen meanders along road at threatening Colorado Rockies. Mesmerizing aerial shots and overall atmosphere here are beyond all description. Really, really perfect. Kubrick begins to display his unique skill and vision at the very first scene.

Actually the story is quite simple: a recovering alcoholic Jack finds an off-season caretaker job at an isolated, mountain-locked hotel in the middle of nowhere in Colorado Rockies so that he can make some money as well as write in peace. Because the hotel is inaccessible during winter, he takes his family to the hotel too. Once the family is alone in the hotel, Jack begins suffering from writer's block and cabin fever. Also, the hotel seems to be replete with all sorts of evil vibes and horrible legacies. Under these circumstances he slowly disintegrates, descends into insanity and inflicts an unbearable terror on his skinny wife and psychic son, Danny.

Although it seems so plain and simple, actually this is not the case. The fact is that all Kubrick films are open to many different interpretations, because they contain lots of symbolism and cryptic meanings hidden deep in the plot and visuals. This is true here. My theory is that the film is about alcoholism and its devastating effects on family. The hotel symbolizes how unbearable a home can be for those who have to live there.

It enjoys some of the most unforgettable shots in motion picture history, such as the amazing chase scene in snowbound topiary maze, Jack's shattering of door with ax, blood pouring out of elevators, looming details of hotel interior as Danny rides his Big Wheel through empty hallways, and haunting look of Grady twins. There are plenty of them, all neatly distributed and absolutely wicked.

Rating: 2:
This is almost 30minutes shorter than the disc on sale in America : It's a great film, of course, at least 4-stars, but this is review of the DVD served up for the paying punters in Britain and, of course, you've all been screwed. This is the heavily shortened version and not the version released in American cinemas. Buy the region 1 disc instead.

Rating: 5:
Enduringly Scary : I think this film has stood the test of time really well. It doesn't look dated like the 'Nightmare On Elm Street' or 'Friday The 13th' film franchises, and it is also vastly more subtle than 'The Exorcist', 'Texas Chainsaw Massacre' and any number of other 'video nasties'. This is because 'The Shining' is a classic of modern times.

Based on the Stephen King book, it manages to top that and brilliantly showcases one of Jack Nicholson's most disturbing perfromances. He plays Jack Torrance, a writer who has offered to be caretaker in 'The Overlook', a huge hotel, for the winter. He takes his wife, Wendy, played by Shelley Duvall, and his son, Danny, played by Danny Lloyd.

What unfolds is alarming. Jack's state of mind deteriorates until he has finally morphed into a personality which is derranged beyond recognition. He then goes on a mad rampage, attempting to terrorise his son and threaten his wife's life. Along the way, all three discover that the building is haunted by unfriendly ghosts and a violent past. A gradual deterioration of communication between the three family members occurs, until the lives of Danny and Wendy are in mortal danger.

Jack Nicholson has never been more sinister than in this film, and Shelley Duvall's performance, though sometimes grating, is also satisfyingly authentic. Kubrick was well-known to have driven the cast of this film to extreme lengths in order for them to turn out exceptional perfromances. His directorial technique paid off - big time. This film has to be seen at LEAST once.

Rating: 4:
Don't laugh .. it's scary. : I first saw this film at the cinema on it's release in 1980 and sad to say but the audience laughed, I loved it, and had more patience with Nicholson's performance, but still I could see their point.I think this film despite requiring a big screen is better seen intimately on a TV at home,there it's genuinely spooky.The funny thing is I do not believe it to be a good adaptation of King's novel yet it still work's, some alchemical magic of cinema or Kubrick genius, I dunno.

Rating: 5:
Book v Movie : I can understand why Stanley Kubrick hated this movie.
However, despite being highly critical of the way that Hollywood usually butchers literature, I actually enjoyed both book and movie.
Jack Nicholson at his best.
The movie is great. The book is great.
Watch and read both.

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