Film Review - The Shining

Release Date - Stanley Kubrick
Director - 1980
Genre - Physiological horror, Thriller, Mystery, horror, Drama.

The Shining is about a seemingly dysfunctional family that come to suffer from natural and supernatural problems in an isolated Rocky mountain hotel. The father, a writer, is portrayed as a heavy drinker, wife and child abuser, with an evil streak. As a writer he seems to be forced to take a job which few people want. All though he tells his employers that he would actually enjoy the solitude of the hotel, we get the feeling that he chose to take the job because he is self-destructive. The mother is shown as a battered slightly hysterical woman. The film suggests that due to the abuse at the hands of his father and the passivity of his mother, the child of this family developed psychological problems. He had imaginary friends and began to see frightening images.

The film begins with a majestic shot of the mountains showing its beauty and height. The beauty of nature and even friendliness of nature changes as the film develops. As the movie progresses the snow still seems white and pure, but nature becomes an isolating force, not providing the family with a retreat from the pressures of modern life, but forcing the family to turn in on its dysfunctional and psychopathic self. Imprisoned by the snow and the tall mountains , the family seems weak and vulnerable.

Weakness of a individual is shown thought out this film, perhaps one way in The Shining its through the contrast between the family and the large hotel. Through out the film the hotel seems just so large that even if it wasn’t haunted we could easily understand why one would not be comfortable in it. All the rooms seem so spacious and we know that it was not built for a small family but for hundreds of people. For example, we see the boy riding his bike through the huge hallways of the hotel which almost seem never ending.

There also seems to be a large amount of conspiracy theories surrounding the film, growing from anything small like piles of Tang, the powdered fruit drink used on space flights, visible in the pantry. Danny also wearing an Apollo 11 jumper (Fig.2) Danny playing while wearing apollo jumper. Jay Weidner who also wrote about the conspiracy surrounding this film states "It is important to note that the room in question was numbered 217 in the Stephen King version of The Shining. For unknown reason's Kubrick changed it to 237 (Weidner,2009) Room 237 is a reference to the average distance between Earth and the moon, 237,000 miles. And when Jack types “All work and no play…”, the first word looks like “A11” or Apollo 11.

Danny wearing apollo Jumper
Kubrick was apparently known to see to perfect symmetry in everything he did, Michael Wins wrote about Kubrick and using symmetry, "But Kubrick, known for his meticulous and painstakingly exact compositions, finds symmetry in every nook and cranny of the film’s design –" (Wins, 2012) and then Ali Gray expresses how again Kubrick was meticulous for detail "Stanley Kubrick was incredibly detail-oriented and never left anything to chance" (Gray, 2014). For example, An early overhead shot of Danny on his tricycle places him directly at the centre of a corridor in front of the Grady sisters, who of course, share symmetry of their own, in (Fig.3) you see Danny confronted by the twins. Even in costume there is bond between mother and son when in the early scenes of the film Wendy wears a red jumper with a blue patchwork overthrow, Danny later in the film repeats this combination, red jumper with blue dungarees, something seemingly insignificant but it subliminally reinforces the bond between mother and son.

Danny confronted by twins (symmetry)

Illustration List - 

Figure 1. The Shining Film Poster (1980) From: The Shining. 
Directed By: Stanley Kubrick [Film Poster] United Kingdom/United States: Warner Bros.
At: http://www.redesignrevolution.com.

Figure 2. The shining film still (1980) From: The Shining. 
Directed By: Stanley Kubrick [Film Still] United Kingdom/United States: Warner Bros.
At: http://www.whorange.net/.a/6a00e5506da99788330192abcdf303970d-800wi

Figure 3. he shining film still (1980) From: The Shining. 
Directed By: Stanley Kubrick [Film Still] United Kingdom/United States: Warner Bros.
At: www.fact.co.uk

Bibliography - 

Weidner, Jay (2009) 'The Shining (1980)'
In: www.whale.to [Online] At: http://www.whale.to/c/secrets_of_the_shining.html
(Accessed on 07.12.14)

Wins, Michael. (2012) 'The Shining (1980)' 
In: http://ithappenedatgaumont.wordpress.com 04.10.12 [Online]
At: http://ithappenedatgaumont.wordpress.com/2012/11/04/essay-the-shining-stanley-kubrick-1980/
(Accessed on  07.12.14)

Gray, Ali (2014) 'Was The Shining Stanley Kubrick's Way Of Admitting He Faked The Moon Landing?' In: https://uk.yahoo.com/movies 16.06.14 [Online]
At: https://uk.yahoo.com/movies/was-the-shining-stanley-kubricks-way-of-admitting-he-88944139006.html (Accessed on 07.12.14)

1 comment:

  1. '... nature becomes an isolating force, not providing the family with a retreat from the pressures of modern life, but forcing the family to turn in on its dysfunctional and psychopathic self.' - Very nice :)

    It might have been good to explain a little more what the conspiracy theory around Apollo 11 is... at the moment, you invest a fair amount of time describing the instances where it is referred to, but your reader is left wondering what the link or conspiracy actually is...

    I feel that a short concluding sentence or two might have been good, as at the moment the review comes to a bit of an abrupt end; I was really enjoying reading it, then suddenly - BAM! - it's finished :)

    Don't forget to compile your bibliography in alphabetical order by the author's surname.