Wednesday, March 15, 2006

#2: The Shining (Stanley Kubrick, 1980)

Because it's the real space odyssey.


Nick Davis said...

Et voilà. A much more interesting movie than Paths of Glory, even though my memory is of liking it less. But, foreseeing this circumstance, I've already rented it again and am ready to go back to that funky mountaintop lodge.

Question: do you rate Nicholson in the film as highly as the film itself?

Y Kant Goran Rite said...

I'm not sure I approve of this.

But I guess I'm gonna have to.

It's a solid movie, a compulsive movie but I wouldn't call it a great movie (since there's too much in it left over from Stephen King in the movie for my taste and I think Nicholson gives his worst, most mannered performance). Maybe my devotion to "Paths of Glory" as the movie Kubrick never surpassed might waver upon a second viewing, but I doubt "The Shining" could ever overcome it.

tim r said...

@Nick: Not likely, though I think he has some magnificent scenes, particularly at the typewriter and the bar, and I think his degeneration into loony psychopathic archetype is precisely what's required. Shelley Duvall's is the movie's really key performance, and Danny Lloyd's splendid too.

But, as with Barry Lyndon and 2001, acting is fairly low down the list of its assets. It's difficult for me, in short, to convey how fascinating I find this movie. I could get lost in it for days, trying to get to the centre of the maze, if you like. The scary grandiosity, the unsettling Moebius-strip logic, and the abrupt leaps through time and space make it a more intellectually jolting and bewitching experience for me, each time, than even Persona.

The European version's preferable, by the way — and I do hope everyone gets the chance to see it on the big screen one day.

@Goran: Approve, don't approve... But I'd say there's far more reason to go back to this, searching for answers or hidden magic, than to Paths of Glory, which is rhetorically strong and clearly argued and that's your lot. There I see a very good and important film that's utterly without mystery. Here, I think Kubrick, with typical perversity, made a great film out of a Stephen King book, in much the same way that Hitchcock made a great one from a Boileau and Narcejac potboiler. Question not the source, tends to be my line. Look only at the idea.

Anonymous said...

I figured it would end up being The Shining. I'm a huge fan.

Mylo said...

The most interesting character and best performance in the film is of the Overlook itself, and that's all down to Kubrick. Genius. I'll back this one all the way.

Dr. S said...

Horror movies scare the bejeezus out of me, so I've never seen this one. Someday maybe I'll figure out how to get over that.


ok but the ending?
anyone anyone...

i watched it for the first time in what could only be considered the perfect setting. in a small house in the middle of the woods and freezing cold, a house i'd never been to before (long story) and late at night. and around halloween.

I was scared out of my mind and then, completely blah. Hate the ending. am i missing something?

and am glad to hear the love for Duvall. she is seriously an inspired actress. Between this and Three Women.

Mylo said...

Watch Session 9 if you want to see a film that pays direct homage to the Shining, and in its own way highlights what the end of the Shining alludes to, but in a slightly less mystic way.
Fear is a place indeed.

FilmFan said...

I really liked Session 9.
I like Anderson a lot in general, actually - I hoped The Machinist would finally put him on the map but it doesn't seem to have happened. (I even interviewed him for The Big Issue but they spiked it at the last moment for a generic Keanu piece because Constantine was out that week. Anyway, if you haven't seen them and you get the chance, check out Next Stop, Wonderland (the indie Sleepless in Seattle, with Hope Davis being marvellous again - the first film I saw her in) and Happy Accidents (which never got released here - Vincent D'Onofrio and Marisa Tomei in a romcom, where D'Onofrio may or may not be a time-traveller).