Wednesday, November 15, 2006

the shining: epic movie

Poltergeist, know as a terrifying film when it was made in the 1980's, does not successfully frighten viewers today. The Shining, however, is a timeless masterpiece that, in my opinion, will continue to be effective for decades to come. Stanley Kubrick flawlessly directs this film. Each element of the film is meticulously done, the camera work, the acting, the score, etc. The cinematography alone is fantastic: mesmerizing aerial shots from the beginning, as viewers are drawn in by long shots of the winding mountain roads we see as the Torrance family takes their first drive to the Overlook Hotel. The film is not corny in any sense, even though Nicholson's role as a criminally insane writer could be considered over the top, his performance is so strong that the question of how realistic the film is never crosses my mind. Unlike most Hollywood horror films that consist of underdeveloped characters constantly scrambling to escape a ridiculous death by an unknown killer, The Shining allows viewers to invest emotions in these characters, as we watch them slowly lose their minds, isolated miles from away from civilization. Because the film takes its time with the violence and horror, it effectively instills paranoia unto its viewers. That is to say, that from the beginning we know something horrible will happen, an ominous vibe is stirring in our minds. However, every time you think something awful is about to happen, it doesn't. The film takes you by surprise with its shots of eerie apparitions and eventually, violent Jack Torrance plagued by insomnia and cabin fever determined to take out his family. The best part about the film is that it doesn't give us clear-cut answers. At the end of the film, I am left unsure about what exactly happened, what was real and what resolution Kubrick wished me to have. To me this is powerful because as most people say, people are terrified of the unknown!
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