The Shining (1980) Film Review

The Shining remains to be a horror masterpiece to this day from Jack Nicholson’s performance, the camera work, and how much of it is worthy of being analyzed. Jack Torrence (Jack Nicholson) is a writer and is taking up the job of being the caretaker of the Overlook Hotel, he takes his family with him, Wendy (Shelley Duvall), his wife, and Danny (Danny Lloyd), his son. Before he takes his family up with him, he is talking with the manager of the hotel and is told of a story of a man who was a caretaker once before for the hotel and ended up having a mental breakdown leading to the him killing his entire family as well as himself. Jack says he’ll be fine and simply brushes it off.

Many different things unfold in this movie, from the intense tension in a vast majority of the scenes, especially the last 40 minutes, and all of the strange things that happen which you question the reality of and what the deeper meanings are. But, even if you don’t bother to get analytical with the film or try to interpret the complexities, it doesn’t take away from the film because it truly is one of the best horror movies ever made especially in terms of actually being scary and the performances. The soundtrack alone make things terrifying whether they are meant to be or not. The movie manages to have some incredibly memorable moments that are littered in pop culture today for good reason because so much is worth remembering.

Every single shot in The Shining is taken with care, every thing is perfectly done and it makes for one beautifully terrifying film. It doesn’t surprise me that Kubrick was such a perfectionist because not a shot is wasted. Everything is perfectly framed. Amongst everything though, the performance by Nicholson is mind blowing. He plays a fully blown-out insane man and it is incredible. It isn’t very surprising considering I think he is easily one of the best actors ever and seems to be a stand-out in nearly all the films he is in. As the film ends, you will have plenty of questions but that’s the beauty of the film, just how much of it is open to interpretation.

The ending stands out as you question what is meant by it all and what Jack Torrence is exactly. The film has supernatural elements that aren’t wholly explained but more left to what you think its supposed to be. Personally, I like it when a film leaves me with questions, if its done tastefully of course, I don’t want everything to be spoon-fed to me by the artist. Ultimately, this is a film that still stands the test of time and probably will forever as a horror classic as well as being a smart, albeit terrifying, movie.

5/5 stars.


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