Tuesday, 4 August 2009

The Shining (1980)

Now I have been known to be rather unfair to Kubrick as can be seen in my micro review for 2001: A Space Odyssey which you can read HERE

Harsh I know but I stand by it.

This film was an adaptation of a Stephen King work and really is a bastardisation of the original book keeping none of the rich background, intricate characters and emotional content of the source material. It still manages to be absolutely magnificent. vlcsnap-2009-08-04-19h02m14s23

I would say that this is quite firmly Kubrick's: The Shining rather then Kings. In a way this is no bad thing, anyone who has read Stephens novels will already be a ware of his ability to use language in a way that ids impossible to portray on the screen. Instead Stanley has taken the bones of the story and made a fantastic feast for the eyes. The Shining is like no other horror movie. Shot almost entirely on steadycam you always have the uneasy feeling that you are actually present in witness to the events onscreen. What an onscreen it is, there is not one single shot in this movie that is not a work of art and where 2001 failed for me because of its ponderous nature this is an absolute triumph for The Shining giving gravitas to very simple scenes. Conversations become riveting and sheer horror can unwind given very simple stimulus. Kubrick does use  tricks to impart his scares but no cheap ones. The visuals are truly amazing with tracking shots galore and scenes that seem to run forever in one single take. The hotel is bright and whether it is due to the sickening 70s decor or true intention on behalf of the Director the very fittings induce nausea. A standout scene for me was the axe to the door sequence. This was rendered truly outstanding by use of the camera following the swings adding some real force to each and every blow.

vlcsnap-2009-08-04-20h41m05s154 When watching The Shining you wonder if Kubrick actually intended to make a Horror movie. He follows very few of the clich├ęs and concentrates instead on unwinding the vision. Done poorly this version of The Shining would be awful. Very little of the original intent actually remains, Kubrick's sheer genius rescues it.

Kubrick's version of the Shining is truly masterful as is the original novel and oddly both for very different reasons.

Paul out…and avoiding the bath

One off bonus…here is a trailer for a similar film called Shining. A romantic comedy…
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