Stanley Kubrick - The Shining (1980), 7/10

Revisiting The Shining after over a decade hiatus feels strange. Almost as strange as the film itself. The eerie, ear-piercing soundtrack along with the supernatural elements of Stephen King’s story all contribute to this strangeness, along with an interestingly off script interpretation of said story. Of course, The Shining can be charmingly creepy but it goes beyond the surface level of tension to something more subversive and even invasive. The performances range from charismatic to troublesome and exasperating, but Nicholson’s lead performance is one of provocative psychosis. It could be construed as exaggerated or excess, but is vital to the energy of the film. It elevates what otherwise could be a practically solely atmospheric venture, taking it beyond into a personal and genuinely disturbing one. Danny and Wendy, on the other hand, feel like empty vehicles for the progression of the story at times, more like reactions to Jack as opposed to individual characters with believable behavior as they are in King’s novel. Almost undoubtedly the most effective vehicle for the story is the soundtrack. The timing, the sheer sound, the use of twists and turns to coax out every ounce of tension and breath in between action and dialogue. Just as much of Kubrick’s work, however, the use of space can be a strength and a hinderance. It becomes exhaustive at times, especially when you are already familiar with the story and its narrative pace. The film nerds surely have more than enough to gawk over, but apart from an expertly crafted series of shots and atmosphere it can suffer from its spacious inclinations. If not for the jagged story and uneasy atmospheric quality it would be a wounded film. Still, The Shining very effectively entices feelings of dread and discomfort mixed with thrilling dismay, a unique and satisfying victory.