Haunted by a persistent writer's block, the aspiring author and recovering alcoholic, Jack Torrance, drags his wife, Wendy, and his gifted son, Danny, up snow-capped Colorado's secluded Overlook Hotel after taking up a job as an off-season caretaker. As the cavernous hotel shuts down for the season, the manager gives Jack a grand tour, and the facility's chef, the ageing Mr Hallorann, has a fascinating chat with Danny about a rare psychic gift called "The Shining", making sure to warn him about the hotel's abandoned rooms, and, in particular, the off-limits Room 237. However, instead of overcoming the dismal creative rut, little by little, Jack starts losing his mind, trapped in an unforgiving environment of seemingly endless snowstorms, and a gargantuan silent prison riddled with strange occurrences and eerie visions. Now, the incessant voices inside Jack's head demand sacrifice. Is Jack capable of murder?Written by
When Jack Torrance (Nicholson) is offered a job as winter caretaker for the Overlook Hotel he accepts it as an opportunity to work on his novel in an isolated environment. He is told stories of the last caretaker going mad and butchering his family but isn't deterred. He arrives at the Overlook Hotel with his wife (Duvall) and child Danny (Lloyd) and is shown around the hotel by the cook (Scatman Crothers) who has the gift of perception. The cook warns Danny that the hotel can be of particular danger for those with the gift. It's only a matter of time before Jack begins to act increasingly erratic.
This is one of Jack Nicholson's finest roles, his increasingly unhinged character is amusing and terrifying in almost equal measures. Duvall plays the role of the terrorised wife quite well - she does look like she's genuinely filled with fear - but doesn't have much else to do. Lloyd is excellent as the boy, although he doesn't have too much emotion to express. However no doubt that this is Jack's show.
The story doesn't stick to King's novel and is better for it; this is Kubrick's Shining. The film has plenty of genuinely scary moments but manages to keep a creepy atmosphere all through - especially as the ghosts come out and Jack begins to move between his reality and the reality that is gradually claiming him.
Kubrick is excellent here, his cold direction adds to the overall creep factor of the film. It's one of the best examples of his masterful touch.
Overall this is an excellent horror movie - because the focus is on horror and fear rather than gore alone (as with modern horrors). Jack is excellent in one of his best roles ever and the whole package is delivered in a cold creepy manner by a sadly lost director.
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