The Meaning of The Shining by Stanley Kubrick 1980. I am writing about the second film of one of my favorite directors. This time around, one of the scariest horror films of all time, and probably the best movie ever made from a Stephen King novel.
What is The Shining movie about?
The book, alas, I have not read yet, but I think it can scare no worse than the Kubrick movie (King is the king of horror, I have no doubt about it). The plot revolves around the Torrens family moving into the Overlook Hotel for the winter. In winter, the hotel is empty, and the head of the family, Jack Torrance (played by Jack Nicholson), is offered for a large sum to regularly heat the hotel and follow it (all the food and services of the hotel are “at the expense of the institution”). But, except for the family itself (father, mother and son), there will be no one in the hotel during this period. Jack agrees, because he just wanted to find a quiet place to finish his novel. Wendy’s mother doesn’t mind either, and Danny’s son, who can predict the future (and is friends with his imaginary friend Tony), is wary. Before leaving, he fell into a trance and saw in his mind liters of blood that would gush out of the hotel’s elevator doors.
This does not stop the family, and they go to the hotel. There they are explained what and how, and the son of Danny strikes up a conversation with an African-American cook. The cook has the same abilities as the son of the Torrens family, and explains to him that this gift is called “radiance”. A person with “radiance” can see what others may not see. Danny asks the chef if the Overlook scares him, to which the latter replies that some places can also have a “shine”. The hotel is proof of that. Some events can leave traces, and only the “shine” will help to see them. Then, Danny suddenly starts asking about room 237 and points out that he is afraid of it. The cook cuts off the conversation and tells Danny not to even think about this room. Before that, in a dialogue between Jack and the employer, we learned that the Overlook Hotel was built on the site of an Indian cemetery. The builders had to fight off constant skirmishes with local tribes. Accordingly, this concludes that the Overlook is a bad place, most likely even cursed.
Before the Torrens family, a certain Gilbert Grady worked as a caretaker at the Overlook, who killed his entire family (wife and two twin daughters) and shot himself in the mouth with a shotgun. Throughout his stay at the hotel, Danny constantly stumbles upon strange twins who hold hands and invite him to play. One day, he nevertheless decides to enter room 237. After that, the wounded Danny approaches his mother, and she, in turn, decides that Jack did it (some time ago, before moving to the hotel, a drunk Jack sprained his son’s arm ). Jack, depressed and strange, drops everything and goes to the golden room (large hall), where various parties were often held. There is a key scene where Jack says that he would sell his damned soul just so he could have a glass of beer (all alcohol was taken out of the hotel). At this moment, a bartender appears in front of Jack’s eyes, who offers Jack to drink bourbon with a lawyer. So, Jack begins to communicate with another world, respectively, begins to go crazy.
Stephen King, the creator of the original script, repeatedly complained that the actor who played Jack looked crazy in advance, so the viewer would not see the difference between Jack at the beginning and Jack at the end. But, personally, I think that King is both right and wrong. At the beginning of the film we see an adequate person with a crazy appearance, and at the end of the film we see that an adequate person with an insane appearance becomes a madman. The world is full of people with crazy eyes, facial expressions, behavior or hair, so you can put up with it. But let’s get back to our sheep.
Wendy learns from Danny that he was attacked by a certain lady in the bathroom (room 237). At first, Jack thinks Wendy is crazy, but then he decides to check the unfortunate room himself. There he finds an ordinary girl who starts kissing him, but Jack is horrified to see her back in the mirror. Jack pushes the girl away, and an old woman appears in front of him, covered in blisters. Jack runs out of the bathroom and tells Wendy about not finding anyone there and says he thinks Danny self-harmed. He tries to convince Wendy that their son is crazy. Wendy invites Jack to leave the hotel, and he throws a tantrum and blames his wife for all his troubles, since in the hotel he has the opportunity to bring at least something to the end.
Jack leaves and another world becomes more and more obvious to him. He walks down a long hallway to a golden room covered in balloons and confetti. As soon as he reached the place, he already saw many different visitors in the clothes of the 20s. He asks the bartender for a drink, prepares money, but the second one claims that his money is not worth anything here, everything is at the expense of the institution. Jack asks who pays for his drinks, to which the bartender says he shouldn’t care. The delighted writer moves away from the table with a glass and starts dancing to the music of Al Bowley, and then inadvertently bumps into the waiter, who turns out to be the same man who worked as a caretaker before Jack. After that, a dialogue is started in the toilet, where the waiter tells Jack that he should talk to his wife and child. Also, he talks about how the child continues to keep in touch with the African-American chef, and he is probably already on his way to the hotel.
Wendy enters the hall of the hotel where Jack was writing his novel and discovers that it consists entirely of one quote “All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy”, which translates as “One job and no play makes Jack a dull boy.” Wendy is about to run in fear, but Jack catches her reading his book. He starts yelling at Wendy and accuses her of asking her to leave the hotel. He says that he signed a contract and is obliged to be the caretaker of the hotel until May 1, and she has no idea about the principles. Wendy moves away from Jack and begins to wave the bat, and he directly promises to wring her neck. Wendy hits Jack on the head and locks him in the punishment cell. The writer begins to ingratiate herself with her and pretends to be a cripple, asking for the help of a doctor. Wendy tells Jack that she is going to take Danny to the doctor and then return to the hotel for him. Jack also says that they can’t go anywhere, since the snowmobile and the walkie-talkie (by which they could call for help) were broken for them.
Wendy runs away, and Jack is freed from the punishment cell by the former caretaker, which means that the writer finally swam into another world, since the ghosts became material for him. He then breaks into Wendy and Danny’s room, but they manage to lock themselves in the bathroom. After that, he begins to push the speech of the wolf from the “Three Little Pigs” and chop down the door with an ax. Wendy manages to help Danny out of the hotel window and slides down the slide formed by the window (the film takes place in winter). Jack yells the famous “Here comes Johnny” and reaches out to the doorknob. Wendy manages to stab his arm with a knife. An African-American chef arrives on a snowmobile to save Danny and Wendy (Danny telepathically asked for his help about halfway through the movie).
Jack hears the sounds of a snowmobile, rushes to find the cook, and then kills him (Kubrick spent a lot of takes on this scene in the name of perfectionism). Wendy runs all over the hotel and starts to see various otherworldly powers (which are VERY scary indeed). Jack starts chasing Danny. Danny escapes into a large plant maze (which was outside the hotel “as an amusement”). Jack follows his tracks, but Danny manages to trick his father. He runs away to his mother and together they leave on the cook’s snowmobile. Jack gets lost in the maze and, in desperation, he sat down on the ground, and after a while, he froze to death. After that, to the music of Al Bowley, we are shown the wall of the hotel with photographs, among which there is a photo taken in 1921. In its center stands and smiles Jack Torrens in a crowd of people. This is where the movie ends…
Meaning of The Shining
Stephen King did not like the film directed by Kubrick. The writer was offended by the director for a peculiar interpretation of the plot. One way or another, Kubrick’s “The Shining” became a classic of world cinema 30 years ago and annually takes pride of place in lists a la “The Best Films of the 20th Century”.
King created The Shining as a chilling hoax: ghosts, werewolves, and rivers of events so bloody that by the end even the most thick-skinned ones are imaginative. Stanley Kubrick’s film is also about horror, but different. In life, we rarely meet the ghosts of Indian cemeteries, but there are plenty of drinking fathers of the family, mocking this very family. The director raises the theme of domestic violence, loneliness within a close circle of people.
Jack Torrance, not a very successful writer and not the most exemplary family man, gets a job as a caretaker in a hotel that has become empty after the holiday season. Jack’s son Danny begins to “shine” (sees spirits, scenes of the future) after his drunken father breaks his arm. The new work should bring the shattered nerves of the writer back to normal and help write a new novel. You can’t run away from yourself, and Torrens Sr. brings with his family his demons: irritability, anger, alcoholism.
Without noticing it, Jack sells his soul to the devil for a drink, and the horror that Danny saw in a state of trance begins. You become numb, however, not from the ghost of a rotting corpse, but from the brutal, furious appearance of the father, whose goal is to kill his child. Everything is trite: a man justifies his behavior with irritants – his wife and son (the demons only need this). And then the events play out like clockwork: Jack loses his human appearance, becomes more and more satanic, not distinguishing between reality and its subtexts.
The director puts an end to the wild ending: the corpse of the protagonist frozen into the ice and a photograph of the living Jack on the hotel wall. King wrote about the hotel – as the only source of evil. But for Kubrick, the source of troubles is a man who has not coped with his passions, who has driven himself into a trap of hell and ruined the life of his loved ones.
The cinematography and directing are amazing. The Shining is incredibly beautifully shot. The film keeps you in suspense from start to finish. This is what I call suspense! Jack Nicholson played brilliantly (many even say that he got so used to the role that he entered into a certain state of seizure during filming and his madness was, to some extent, natural). Shelley Duvall received a Worst Actress nomination but did not win. In principle, she manages to play a hysterical woman, but, anyway, the actress infuriates in places with her game. Danny Lloyd was also very good.
I believed everything that happens on the screen. The actors did their best. The soundtrack is incredible! And the script… Even after you watch the movie or read the book, you will still be scared by this story on subsequent viewings or readings. Why? Because this story was created by two geniuses – Stephen King and Stanley Kubrick. It’s a pity that Kubrick didn’t make more horror movies. Although “Eyes Wide Shut” is also quite a scary movie (and the suspense is even stronger than in “The Shining”).
But more on that later. And The Shining is wonderful and underrated at the time. It’s not just a horror movie. It has a thought. And also, he scares with his atmosphere, and does not try to make it a “boo” effect, as in most modern horror films.
The Shining is a film that has stood the test of time. You can come back to it many times, like the rest of Kubrick’s films. Horror masterpiece!