Saturday, April 4, 2015

The Shining, 1980

Directed by
Written by Stanley Kubrick and Diane Johnson 
Starring , , and

This movie is amazingly well put together, though that doesn't necessarily mean it's pleasant. As someone who is not a big horror movie fan, I really only wanted to see this (again) because it's Kubrick. That being said, it's pretty astonishing to watch. From literally the first short, it has a disorienting effect and disturbing effect. Kubrick's kind of going wild with the shots -- not that he doesn't always -- but those famous tracking shots following Danny (Jack Nicholson and Shelley Duvall's son) as he rides his speedy little tricycle around the hall are famous for a reason.

As for the acting, there is a reason why this is one of Jack Nicholson's iconic roles. First, he does all those things that have almost become caricatures of him, except this is one of the movies where he set the pattern, not where it became a gag; take a look at his "It's okay. He saw it on the television." moment for an example. There's also a moment when the camera simply holds on him staring off into space, and it's completely chilling. While we often think of him as a celebrity or an image, the man can act.(Shelley Duvall is good, though I was wondering what it's like to have your role primarily to be terrified and scream a lot -- it's not as much as Fay Wray in King Kong, but it's a lot.)

Also, I don't usually go for listicles, but I enjoyed this one. I was reassured to know that Danny Lloyd (the boy playing Danny) didn't know that he was in a horror movie. Also, there a pointer to The Timberline Lodge in Oregon, which Kubrick used for some shots of the hotel itself; for establishing shots (such as the disorienting one that opens the movie), he used Glacier National Park in Montana.

There's something so Kubrick about having
the incongruous dropped ceiling in that scene.

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