Sunday, 6 December 2015

The Shining 1980 Film Review

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The Shining is a 1980 film directed by Stanley Kubrick, based on a novel by Stephen King. The story follows Jack Torrance and his family as he takes a new job watching a hotel up in the Colorado rocky mountains during the winter. During their stay at this hotel there are a lot of strange things that go on which cause fear within characters and build suspense within the story. This psychological horror builds up suspense throughout the whole story. Using one of Kubrick's favourite styles and keeping things slow to gradually build up such as he did in 2001: A Space Odyssey.  As Rodger Ebert said "the characters seem reliable enough, although the dialogue has a formality that echoes the small talk on the space station in "2001.""(Rodger Ebert 2006)
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One of the iconic features of this film is the design of the hotel in which it is based. Kubrick and his production designer Roy Walker managed to create a wonderfully vibrant yet eerily creepy set for this film to take place. As said by Ryan Lambie "In no other film has an interior felt so mundane and yet so palpably evil"(Ryan Lambie 2011)  The isolated setting provides the bases of the story whilst also giving a beautiful setting with a lot of open space and grounds equipment such as the labyrinthine which comes into use as the film plays out. Within the hotel Kubrick and Walker used a very open plan for the main rooms. On top of this the patterns of the rugs and carpet throughout the hotel are very bright and catch the viewers eye. The carpet throughout the hotel is now seen as an iconic pattern by many people due to this film.
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Another aspect of this film that creates is eerie and creepy feel even when just normal acts are taking place, such as Danny riding his big wheel throughout the hotel, is by Kubrick's brilliant direction and shot selection. As said in a review by James Beradinelli "The combination of unimpeachable set design, perfect shot selection, long tracking shots, and an impeccable score (comprised primarily of a selection of classical pieces) creates an atmosphere in which suspense and dread ferment." (James Beradinelli 2009) When riding his big wheel through the hotel Kubrick uses a shot from just behind Danny following him from the exact same distance the whole time. Majority of the time he does this he doesn't play any music but uses the sound of the wheels on the changing surfaces to build a slow suspense that the audience can feel build up throughout.

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The Shining is a film that you will not forget after watching. The way in which it slowly builds up the tension to a boiling point along with a combination of the eeriness of the setting and the direction is produces an experience to watch that will be felt by all viewers. Not only that but the performance of the actors plays a huge part in the way this film works. Jack Nicholson's ability to make any situation to feel serious yet still calm was a perfect fit for the roll of Jack Torrance.


Ebert, R 2006 -

Lambi, R 2011 DenOfGeek -

Beradinelli, J 2009 ReelViews -

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1 comment:

  1. Hi Ian,

    Interesting review... just a couple of points (these go for your 'Repulsion' review too) - always make sure that all the film names are italicised, and your reference after the quote does not need to be in italics, and should just be the author's surname and the date, not the first name too.