The Shining (1980) – Isolation, Madness and Paranoia

by Milos Itic on February 22, 2011

Watch It!

Shining 01Written by Stephen King, acting by Jack Nicholson and directed by Stanley Kubrick. What else can this bring, then some kind of masterpiece of psychological horror film, with the great and complex story and great atmosphere.

The film is about Jack Torrance – The writer, ex alcoholic and ex teacher (Jack Nicholson) and his job over the winter time, to watch over a hotel while it is closed and have nobody around. He brings a family with him. Jack thinks this could be a great opportunity to finish his book. However, some minds are gone to be changed.

Welcome to the:
Kubrick shooting perfectionism.
Isolation, Madness and Paranoia.

There’s no doubt that ‘Shining’ is a major classic of the horror genre, but it’s even a bit more than that. It’s the horror movie elevated to the “art status”. Single and unique piece of “Horror Art”. In this movie, horror is more symbolic than actually gory. In fact, there’s almost no blood, if we exclude those “blood waves” gushing out through the corridors.

Shining is a excellent essay about Human’s insanity, because it explores until the edge the loss of self control and the irrationality of the human mind. During filming, Stanley Kubrick made the cast watch Eraserhead (1976), Rosemary’s Baby (1968) and The Exorcist (1973) to put them in the right setting of mind.

Shining 02The movie’s line “Here’s Johnny!” is still one of the greatest one. Jack Nicholson ad the line “Here’s Johnny!” in imitation of announcer Ed McMahon’s famous introduction of Johnny Carson on U.S. network NBC-TV’s long-running a late night television program “The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson” (1962).

Jack Nicholson’s performance is timeless and unforgettable.
Kubrick’s Mise-en-scène is great.
Nevertheless, with some repetitive images and scenes and maybe not enough underdeveloped ideas.

The Shining is at once bold and imaginative, yet also nostalgic and old-fashioned. In a way this mimics the story’s theme of history repeating itself and the overlapping of past and present events – a typically Kubrick-esquire mixing of style and content.

Shiver hotel, strange simple environment and morbid landscapes of halls, extremely isolated winter, echoing rooms and the long hallways, emptiness of the visual. These rooms with their echoes lead constantly to nowhere. Ghosts or guests.

Do the walls feel empathy?


Written by Itic Milos

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