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The Shining back to product details

The icy descent into madness
written by sfspaz February 28, 2005 - 5:28 PM PST
5 out of 6 members found this review helpful
Leave it to Stanley Kubrick to create something lush, grand, and epic out of the sparsest of materials: barely more than 3 actors, an empty lodge, a typewriter, and, well, an elevator full of blood.

Rarely do ingredients come together as successfully as they do in this film. Kubrick's love of filmic still life, Jack Nicholson's barely-there grasp on the world of the sane, Colorado's bleak winter landscape, and King's spacious tale of a slow descent into insanity seem perfectly married in this film. As this film is definitely for fans of the "slow-burn" method of storytelling (one of Kubrick's calling cards), some might find its snails-pace a bit challenging, but therein lies the palpable tension of the film -- the slow but inevitable descent into madness that grips a family living stranded in an empty mountain lodge for months on end.

Nicholson is in top form as the frustrated writer with growing thoughts of familiar murder. Shelly Duvall is impressive as the terrified wife, and even young Danny Lloyd is effective as the doe-eyed boy with hallucinations of murderous twins. More a movie about holding your breath than jumping out of your seat, Kubrick shows his usual brilliant restraint in pacing, and employs drawn-out, slow motion shots and cinematic tools to convey the growing menace that permeates the lodge. Several sequences have become movie legend. While Nicholson's axe-wielding entrance into the locked bathroom garnered the most post-film recognition, few who have seen the film will ever forget Danny's hypnotic Big Wheel rides through the empty hallways, the groundskeepers harrowing demise, and of course the aforementioned elevator with its horrifying cargo.

It's a tribute to Kubrick's film-making and the efforts of the cast that a movie with such a contemplative and theoretical take on horror can leave the viewer so exhausted by the film's end. The opposite of a "slow-burn", this movie exemplifies a "slow freeze" which leaves the viewer (and the movie's nemesis) paralyzed by movie's end.

I've seen better
written by Trevin January 17, 2005 - 12:35 AM PST
1 out of 11 members found this review helpful
I have seen two versions of this film: this one with Jack Nicholson, and a later one (1997) with Steven Weber. As far as casting goes, I much prefer the latter. Jack has always seemed much too creepy to me to be able to pose as a writer who starts out as a good guy. Steven is much more believable from beginning to end, showing the gradual change in the character's state of mind.


(Average 7.61)
2453 Votes
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