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The Shining (1980)

  Directed by: Stanley Kubrick
Written by: Diane Johnson, Stephen King, Stanley Kubrick
Starring: Shelley Duvall, Danny Lloyd, Jack Nicholson
Links: The Shining on the IMDb, Buy on Video, Buy on DVD, Buy the Book
Genre: Suspense/Horror/Thriller

This movie gets: 9.00 (1 rating)
nofreelist.com Ranking: not yet ranked (awaiting 2 ratings)

"Oozes super-cool style" - a review by pearly

What makes a great film? Entertainment value and/or interest in the topic is surely fairly high in the set of criteria. This alone can make a good film, but for a film to be truly great, there's a certain something more that's needed. For stars, this is described as the "x-factor"; that special spark that someone has which makes them wonderful, but is not easy to define.

For films, I'm positive that there's a similar thing - an unidentified component which turns a good film into a great one. This component, much like the x-factor, differs a little from person to person, which results in people having different opinions about films. But for the most part, the reasons for giving a film a perfect score (or close to) are hard to put into words; you can only go a certain way to describing why you love something so much.

The Shining definitely has that x-factor. Some of the reasons why it's great are easy to figure out. For one, there's the incredible attention to detail that's poured into every frame by Stanley Kubrick (except for the couple of frames with continuity issues which jud and I noticed whilst watching it). Plus, there's the superb acting. And, to a certain extent, I think that the super-cool style that ooozes through the film (Look at those sets! Check out the carpet! That wallpaper is to die for!) makes it special, and is perhaps one of the hidden weapons of The Shining. These are the types of ingredients that are often ignored when creating a film, especially a film in the thriller genre.

But there's something else that's great about The Shining, something that I can't quite put my finger on. I won't even try to explain it further, but trust me, it's there.

Back onto the things that I do feel able to talk about. Firstly, what's it all about, this The Shining business? Well, there's the Torrance family. The father, Jack (Jack Nicholson) takes a job as winter caretaker of the Overlook Hotel, which is inaccessible during the snowy months. As such, he, along with his wife Wendy (Shelley Duvall), and son Danny (Danny Lloyd), are to be left alone in the hotel until the snows have subsided. Jack has been told by the hotel owners that one of the previous caretakers went a little nuts and ended up killing his wife and twin girls in the hotel, but Jack takes the job anyway, undeterred.

Unsurprisingly, things don't go as well as Jack plans, as he starts to go a bit (okay, a lot) stir-crazy, and begins talking to people who aren't really there, and the like. Who will make it to the end of winter alive?

I don't know whether it's the time that's passed between the making of this film or whether it was always this cool, but the whole look of The Shining is amazing. It had me gawping throughout at the beauty of everything; all the backdrops to the characters are stunning. Even the clothing, particularly Wendy's outfits, were great, making just another thing to watch.

You can't go past the acting either. Nicholson is fantastic. He does make you scared of him (truth is that he's a pretty scary person anyway, but even putting this aside), and worried about the other two "nice" main characters. Duvall is completely weird-looking (seriously, I couldn't stop looking at her), but she totally works as the devoted mother of Danny. And even Lloyd, who would have been 6 or 7 at the time of filming, was fantastic, which is always good to see in a young actor. Apparently, he wasn't aware that he was making a horror film until several years later, though I don't know what Kubrick told him was his character's motivation when he was saying his famous "redrum! redrum!" line over and over again.

Due in no small part to its genre, The Shining is one of Kubrick's most accessible films. It's easy to watch and enjoy, and it leaves you with a satisfied feeling at the end. Top effort, Mr Kubrick, sir.

pearly gives this movie 9 out of 10.
Review created on Wed 7 Jul 2004

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Reader comments

  1. This is such a great movie!

    Rating given: 10

    A comment from Lauren on Sat 05 Feb 2005 01:46 #

  2. I loved this movie!! I really like Stephen King movies and books, though.

    Rating given: 10

    A comment from Llendei on Sat 05 Feb 2005 01:49 #

  3. always remember such everlasting movie. great work!

    Rating given: 10

    A comment from sam on Sun 05 Feb 2006 03:45 #

Those who have commented give this movie: 10.00 (3 ratings)

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