Film Review: ‘The Shining’ (1980)
‘The Sihing’ is one of the most known and frightening film in the history of the cinema. Scenes filmed in bird’s eye view of a yellow car riding through the empty mountain alleys linked with a terrifying music by Wendy Carlos, signify drastic events that are about to come.
Made in 1980 film is based on a book by Stephen King. It tells a story about Jack Torrance and his family. Jack who is a writer with enthusiasm agrees to take care of an Overlook Hotel in Colorado through the winter season. The building is being shut at this time of the year, so Mr and Mrs Torrance with their small son, has to live through that time alienated from the society. Little Danny, Torrance’s son has a special ability- shining. It gives him an ability to communicate with the other world. Boy quickly notices that the hotel is full of ghosts of a murdered family. He is suspecting the ghosts to interfere in the life of his parents and himself.
‘The movie is not about ghosts but about madness and the energies it sets loose in an isolated situation primed to magnify them. Jack is an alcoholic and child abuser who has reportedly not had a drink for five months but is anything but a "recovering alcoholic.' (Erbert. 2006) Erbert explains that the film isn’t a ghost horror but its more psychological. Slowly developing insane behaviour of Jack is the most frightening motif of the film. The visions his having, are elements of a bigger jigsaw. Just the place he’s in- alienated, wild and unknown- gives the film a specific horrifying feeling. It can be said The Overlook Hotel is a second plan actor, a figure that signifies something scary and unpredictable. The hotel is a synonym of a haunted house. The madness of Jack is almost like a circle that throughout the time starts to shrink, closing his family in decreasing surface.
"Alive with portent and symbolism, every frame of the film brims with Kubrick's genius for implying psychological purpose in setting: the hotel's tight, sinister labyrinth of corridors; its cold, sterile bathrooms; the lavish, illusionary ballroom. This was horror of the mind transposed to place (or, indeed, vice versa). The clarity of the photography and the weird perspectives constantly alluding to Torrance's twisted state of mind. The supernatural elements are more elusive than the depiction of his madness."(Nathan 2007) Nathan observes that when the behaviour of Jack changes and gets worse, the setting in the hotel changes along him. The audience can see what the world looks like through the mad person’s eyes.
‘All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy’ – that’s how a healthy man slowly starts to drown in madness. Jack looses the feeling of reality and looses self control, which causes him to be a danger for his family. His mind starts to be a trap from which he can’t escape.
‘The Shining’ is an unchallenged piece, which makes people watch it with delight. The music, scenes, the characteristic way of showing the horror, and the unpredictable ending keep the audience in suspense until the very last minute. It’s not a typical horror, we see this days its more original and psychological.
Roger Ebert (2006) The Shining (1980)- http://rogerebert.suntimes.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20060618/REVIEWS08/606180302
Empire Magazine Ian Nathan (2007) Empire Essay: The Shining.- http://www.empireonline.com/reviews/reviewcomplete.asp?FID=132700