The great achievement of Mr. Kubrick is, without any doubt, the construction of such an atmospheric movie: we feel the nightmarish vibe in an in-crescendo wave for two hours and that's remarkable. Also the casting; Jack Nicholson and his fictional wife are really disturbing. Nevertheless, I doubt if we are talking here of psychological horror or haunted house story: who's the responsible of it all?
Not Kubrick's most ambitious work but certainly a fine enough film. It's an effective thriller with solid acting. The camera work was forward thinking and gorgeous. It's not a very good horror film, and it doesn't really have anything deeper to say, but as a creepy look into the effects of isolation on the mind and the frustrating darker side of the creative process, it's serviceable. A wonderful score really helps.
If we somehow manage to ignore the absolutely magnetic direction, sumptuous and twisted production design, almost-perfect acting (the almost comes from Shelley Duvall) and scene-to-scene building of tension, the main reason why this is such an effective piece of visual horror is because of how well it holds back on the typical exposition dumps the lesser horror films are highly guilty of.
On its face, a formally technical marvel with over-the-top acting, goofy plotting, several strange/wonderful scenes, and a lack of much typically "horrific" material. Further enjoyment is meta-textual... bolstered by knowledge of Kubrick, conspiracy theories, and the puzzling changes made from King's novel. These unanswered oddities elevate the film, as Kidman would later say, "Whether real... or imagined."
★★★★½ / 35mm / Kubrick’s psychological horror masterpiece is a spellbinding descent into the demented mind of a man and the harrowing collapse of his family. Kubrick’s genius is on full display, the hypnotic pacing, spiked with moments of crazed hysteria. The film is filled with dazzling sequences, Danny on the toy car, Nicholson’s jovial talks with the bartender, Duvall with bat, Nicholson with ax. Extraordinary.
I've seen so many making of and fan (conspiracy) theories of 'The Shining' that I'm a little underwhelmed when watching the actual film and that's my fault at the end of the day but the scenes in this film make it so memorable, the idea of this hotel being a Lovecraft entity, a living being that keeps it's un-dead ghosts locked away it's no surprise that similar ideas began to surface in latter day horror films.
Nicholson is obviously great here. The cinematography is superb. Some scenes are near perfection in how well they showcase the underlying theme of the film, but the whole is a bit uneven. Ballroom scenes are all impeccably done, my favorites. Kubrick was smart. He ignored a lot of King's material because he didn't want a scattershot approach. Instead, he bolstered the violent parts, creating a more primal film.
Watched this again, and amazed at the multiple layers of the film that I wasn't aware of previously. Still manages to freak me out but saw it in a completely different light. That is more of a psychological thriller with themes of child abuse, paedophilia and native American oppression. Very subtle. Remarkable.
I am not scholarly enough on Kubrick to discuss the narrative around "America's greatest director": what I can say is that, ironically, The Shining is a film that holds no secrets at all besides gift-shop trivia of decor legends and behind-the-scenes tales. Nicholson is iconically amped,it's creepy,and it's well shot. A heck of a movie when I was 15. After watching actual masterpieces, I tend to reluctantly disagree.