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The Shining Review

The Shining Review

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Published by shanmason93

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Published by: shanmason93 on Dec 10, 2012
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05/16/2015

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The Shining (1980) Review
Fig 1. The Shining Poster
Produced in 1980, Kubrick’s film,
The Shining
plays on the theme of isolation to generate an extrafeel of horror to the genre.Situated high in the cliff-tops across mountains, Jack and his family experience a psychologicalbreakdown as isolation from human nature begins to press on the family as the plot unfolds. Thethemes of isolation are carried across the cinematography of the film; expressed through set,camera movements, the actions of the characters and soundscape. Howard explains how normalactivities and objects in the scene have utilised cinematic conventions to create a disconnection and jauntiness to the narrative and its cast
“At one point, Jack calls Danny over for a conversation,
holding the boy in his lap and hugging him, asking him innocuous questions about how things aregoing and how he likes the hotel. It's a seemingly normal conversation on its face, but it's madecreepy and strange by Nicholson's twitchy performance, and by the slowly escalating dread in themusic. Kubrick treats everything this way; even the typewriter that Jack writes on is made anobject of terror with a slow pan in towards its carriage, and of course later in the film this terror isrevealed to be warranted when Wendy finally reads Jac
k's manuscript.” (Howard 2010)
 
TheShining
builds up extreme tensions into its plot, taking for example the slow pan of the typewriter.The slow pan hints at an absence and builds a level of importance that foreshadows its laterinvolvement into the plot. The film specifically focuses on an eerie soundscape and slow cameratracking movements to build a level of importance onto particular objects or scenes which in turncreate a successful tension to hook the audience.The psychological tensions of the film are what keep the spectator entertained. The film relies onthe
audience’s
interaction with the screen to become successfully frightening. Roscoe also agrees by
 
comparing the death count to the running time of the film,
“It is full of eerie images that keep
theviewer on edge (despite a kind of long run time for a horror movie of two hours and twentyminutes). It is pretty amazing considering the low body count. That is because this movie is just
out to scare by prey on primal fears.” (Roscoe, 2011)
 
Camera technique plays a vital importance inproviding the narrative with a disconnected atmosphere, and spookiness inside the hotel.
“Kubrick
makes it absurd, and scary, and unfathomable, just as he strips much of the psychologicalrationalization from Jack. Kubrick keeps Jack's pathology at a distance, not only shootingeverything in alienating long shots, but refusing to show the process by which Jack transforms
from a slightly troubled family man into a raging lunatic” (Howard 2010)
.
Kubrick uses multipleshots, to generate horror within the film; close ups of Jack
s facial expressions allow the viewer toconnect to his emotions. Jack
s facial expressions throughout the film seem to evoke his dualpersonality which plays a vital role in displaying Jack
s change in psychological breakdown to theviewer.The set also plays a vital importance to the roles of the character and successfully employingconventions of horror throughout the film. Large disproportionate corridors and hallways give theviewer a sense of isolation between the family and life giving their characters an aura of vulnerability.
“The marriage between Jack (Jack Nicholson) and Wendy (Shelley Duvall) is a listless
one, and it is revealed obliquely: through the raggedness and dowdiness of Wendy's wardrobe,through Jack's constant irritation at her, through the immaculate cleanliness of the Overlook'sbathrooms and kitchen, through the eerie way they turn this enormous building into something
cramped and claustrophobic.” (Maslin 1980)
 
The characters are crushed by the scale of theenvironment which
foreshadows Jack’s
mental deterioration. Perhaps one of the most iconic sets;the golden room, uses its large scale and scenery to hint at Jack
s troubled history involvingalcoholism. The dated furniture help portray the realistic cast as aspects of Jack
s hallucination. Theepic scale of the room is yet again used to press onto the characters reinforcing the impression thatthe cast have been swallowed up by the gigantic structure of the building and yet again, suffocatedby the notion of isolation.
Fig.2 The Shining Corridor
 

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