USA Release date: 23rd May 1980
Watched on Sky+ Sunday 25th September 2011.
PLEASE NOTE: THERE MAY BE SPOILERS IN THIS REVIEW.
I have seen ‘The Shining’ a couple of times before but I never realised just what a great film it is until this time around. I guess watching it late at night after many beers can take away the impact of it somewhat though. This time, its morning, I’m a little hung over but nothing a good strong cup of coffee and a decent breakfast couldn’t cure! I have to admit I haven’t read the Stephen King novel on which it is based, but it is on my reading list. As a fan of the work of both Mr King and indeed Mr Kubrick I was more than thrilled to see this collaboration. More of my thoughts after this brief summary.
The Overlook Hotel is in a very remote part of Colorado high up in the Rocky Mountains. So high up in fact that it is shut down every winter because the roads become impassable. To this end a caretaker is employed to look after the place during the winter months. This time around it is writer Jack Torrance along with his wife, Wendy and young son, Danny that gets the job. Before he starts, Jack is told of an incident a few years back where one of his predecessors had gone mad and murdered his family before unloading a shotgun into himself. Jack is not put off; he is looking forward to the solitude so he can work on his new novel. Oh, I should point out that young Danny has a special gift, one that doesn’t go unnoticed by chef, Dick Hallorann before he leaves. Things start out well and the family soon settles into a routine. Danny goes off riding his trike around the long halls of the hotel while Jack writes and Wendy tends to the everyday maintenance tasks. When Danny starts to see things, (two strange girls), and Jack begins to lose his cool, it becomes apparent to Wendy that all is not what it seems at the Overlook Hotel. I’ll leave it there as I’m sure there are one or two out there that may not have seen this one. And anyway, the Spoiler Police will be locking me in a store room if I say much more.
The film is brilliantly shot with some truly iconic scenes and some beautiful scenery to balance it up. I must also say the music by Wendy Carlos and Rachel Elkind really added to the mood and gave the film an extra dimension. Brilliant performances all round, particularly from Jack Nicholson, chewing the furniture and really letting rip as Jack Torrance and from Shelley Duvall as the put-upon wife Wendy Torrance. I also have to give a shout out for the young Danny Lloyd who coped really well with the (at times) demanding role of Danny. Finally, honourable mentions go to Scatman Crothers as Dick Hallorann, Barry Nelson as Stuart Ullman, Philip Stone as Delbert Grady and Joe Turkel as Lloyd the Bartender.
Stanley Kubrick was a master of storytelling and also a master of the visual arts. I loved the look and feel of this film but, just occasionally, I found the dialogue got a little bogged down. It was almost as if it was lifted straight from the novel and didn’t flow quite as well as it might. I can forgive that though because the film as a whole really works and I must give credit to all the filmmakers for that! Most definitely one I will watch again (without the irritation of commercials next time) and one that comes highly recommended.
My Score: 9.1/10.
IMDb Score: 8.5/10 (based on 222,736 votes at the time of going to press).
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 88/100 (based on 49 reviews counted at the time of going to press).
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Jack Torrance: Little pigs, little pigs, let me come in. Not by the hair of your chiny-chin-chin? Well then I'll huff and I'll puff, and I'll blow your house in.
[axes the door]
Jack Torrance: Heeere's Johnny!
Jack Torrance: I like you, Lloyd. I always liked you. You were always the best of them. Best goddamned bartender from Timbuktu to Portland, Maine. Or Portland, Oregon, for that matter.
Danny Torrance: Dad?
Jack Torrance: Yes?
Danny Torrance: Do you like this hotel?
Jack Torrance: Yes. I do. I love it. Don't you?
Danny Torrance: I guess so.
Jack Torrance: Good. I want you to like it here. I wish we could stay here forever... and ever... and ever.
Jack Torrance: And are you concerned about ME?
Wendy Torrance: Of course I am!
Jack Torrance: Of course you are! Have you ever thought about my responsibilities?
Wendy Torrance: Oh Jack, what are you talking about?
Jack Torrance: Have you ever had a SINGLE MOMENT'S THOUGHT about my responsibilities? Have you ever thought, for a single solitary moment about my responsibilities to my employers? Has it ever occurred to you that I have agreed to look after the OVERLOOK Hotel until May the FIRST. Does it MATTER TO YOU AT ALL that the OWNERS have placed their COMPLETE CONFIDENCE and TRUST in me, and that I have signed a letter of agreement, a CONTRACT, in which I have accepted that RESPONSIBILITY? Do you have the SLIGHTEST IDEA, what a MORAL AND ETHICAL PRINCIPLE IS, DO YOU? Has it ever occurred to you what would happen to my future, if I were to fail to live up to my responsibilities? Has it ever occurred to you? HAS IT?
Wendy Torrance: [swings the bat] Stay away from me!