It’s difficult to say anything about this one and it’s so unfair on all the other films I’ve sweated over this year. It should really never have been included in the list as how can you compare this with any other horror film that’s ever been made. Stanley Kubrick is the finest director that ever graced film and could work within any chosen genre, sandal, space or horror. He was a story teller but knew the industry inside out and it shows. The Shining is a perfect film from start to finish. Superb set sequences using every technique in the book and what a stunning cast. The whole thing is the mastermind of Kubrick who shows just how to make a horror film. Adapted from Stephen King’s original novel, Kubrick takes the tale and recreates with his own medium.
Let’s break the plot down a little. Jack (Nicholson) gets a job as a caretaker for a huge hotel whilst it’s closed during the winter months. Taking his wife (Shelly Duvall) and young son Danny (Danny Lloyd) with him, they are isolated for 5 months during snow storms and frost, but the weather outside is the least of their problems as they soon discover the hotel holds some dark secrets and isolation can do some very strange things to the mind.
This is the basics. As a viewer, it’s easy to look far deeper as the plot is outstanding with connotations, sub plots, diversions and imagery all over the place. Danny is possessed with an invisible friend who seems to offer a form of protection and vision of the past and future whilst Jack tacks a conflicting possession, one which is tied with the house which hints at a reoccurrence of personalities over the years, bringing them back and pushing them to extremes. But the marriage is far from healthy to start with and conflict is evident from the very first scenes.
The film is flawless in look and feel and great to experience. It’s an example of a merging of perfect novel with a master of the cinema creating a truly haunting film. Performances from Nicholson, Duvall and Lloyd are about as good as it gets. For me, the highlight is the scene between Danny and Dick the cook; a magical moment which pushes the difficulty of how to express danger to a child who you know could be in danger but you also know that he’s gonna be facing this on his own for the next 5 months. You don’t exactly want to scare the poor kid. The other highlight is between Jack and Delbert in the men’s room, a stunning scene which shows an intriguing reversal of roles with Delbert playing the humble waiter and Jack, the cocky punter, soon reverse with Delbert taking the upper hand and voice of the house, Jack the humble servant. Stunning acting.
I could talk for hours about this one. Perfection.