Review: The Shining (US cut)

Two of my favourite films star Jack Nicholson. One is One Flew over The Cuckoos Nest, the other The Shining. Kubrick is as fascinating as he must have been infuriating to all who worked with him; a noted perfectionist and true auteur spanning genres from sci fi in A Clockwork Orange and 2001, historical in Barry Lyndon, to comedy with Dr Strangelove. The Shining is his undisputed horror masterpiece.

Jack Torrence is a struggling writer who just wants to settle down to work on his latest novel. What better a location than a hotel shut for the Winter months in the middle of nowhere? However, after his wife and young son move in it becomes clear that there is more to the hotel and indeed Torrence himself than meets the eye…

Cornerhouse has recently screened this extended cut including twenty minutes of additional footage which add a surprising amount of depth to the performances and help to round the characters for the inevitable finale. Although some scenes may plod along a bit, this doesn’t affect the flow of the film majorly and one cannot ignore the abundance of fantastic scenes (the woman in the bath, dead girls on the corridor etc) which hold The Shining in high stead among Kubrick’s best work.

Modern audiences are pretty damn solid to impress in terms of horrific imagery these days; just look at films like Antichrist, A Serbian Film and The Human Centipede 2 for evidence, yet The Shining still manages to provide ample shocks. Torrence’s son just happens to be a sort of medium who has a gift known as “the shining”; allowing him to see both events which happened in the past and the future. Kubrick proves himself as a master of tension as the camera travells through the endless corridors following him on his tricycle, yet keeping a distance as Kristolph Pendericki’s insane violins hum and screech in the background. Anything could be around the next bend or jump out at any moment.


15 certificate

Review by LiveWire Young Film Critic, Paddy Johnson (November ’12)