Sunday, October 31, 2010

The Shining (1980)

Starring Jack Nicholson, Shelly Duvall, Danny Lloyd, and Scatman Crothers

Directed by Stanley Kubrick

Release Date: May 23rd, 1980

Some people prefer the original Stephen King novel while others prefer this 1980 adaptation by Stanley Kubrick. For the sake of this review, I'll offer my opinion of both the novel and the movie. For King fans, some of the backstory is missed and the characterization of the Torrnace family is glossed over which is a major problem. However, Kubrick does an amazing job of building up the suspense and terror of the Overlook Hotel gradually in the film without having to devote screentime to past instances of murders in the hotel's history. While King hated the casting of Jack Nicholson and Shelly Duvall as Jack and Wendy Torrance, I found the performances from these actors to be chilling and frightening. Nicholson plays Jack as a man constantly in struggling with some type of conflict: He wants to regain trust from his wife and child after a horrible past incident; while at the hotel, Jack struggles with overcoming his writer's block and alcoholism. While King found Duvall to be too meek and frightened to play Wendy, I think this portrayal works: Duvall portrays Wendy as a woman trying to save her husband from his self-demons while trying to figure out the strange circumstances of not only her son, but the Overlook Hotel. My recommendation is to read King's novel first, then check out Kubrick's interpreation. In my mind, both versions of the story are haunting portrayals of substance abuse, supernatural horor, and the destruction of the family dynamic.

Rating: * * * * * of 5