Where to begin?
I remember seeing The Shining for the first time five years ago. I watched it at home, in my bedroom, on a thirty-inch HDTV and vividly remember the opening title sequence enticing my brain. I remember seeing Kubrick’s camera tracking with Jack Torrence’s car as it drove up the windy mountain, nearing the Overlook Hotel and nearing his inevitable doom. I remember seeing the incredible wide-angle shots seeming to capture every inch of the mountains that could possibly be captured. I remember being astonished and I remember thinking, “This would look so good on the big screen.”
Today, I had the opportunity to see it.
I used to consider this my favorite Kubrick film, but much as changed since then. I’ve since seen Barry Lyndon , Paths of Glory ,Eyes Wide Shut , and a few others I hadn’t seen before I initially watched this. Still, I have trouble saying any of those are better than The Shining , and this is what makes Stanley Kubrick one of the greats.
Here is a film based on a novel by one of the best authors of our time, a film that changed much about that novel and has garnered disapproval from not only fans of the book but the author himself. And yet, this is what makes the film so distinct. The Shining is one of my absolute favorite novels, and it may be my favorite novel from Stephen King, but my love for the book and my love for the movie, while almost equal, are for so many different reasons.
The film left out much of what made King’s story so great, but makes up for it with precise filmmaking. Barely anything in this film (if anything at all) feels out of place. In fact, this is one of the most precise and technically flawless films ever produced. Kubrick takes no bullshit, and his vision has always been translated to film with absolute delicacy, and The Shining is one of the best cases.
Questions arise at how Kubrick treated Shelley Duvall and for that reason I will not attack her performance as some have. I think it was Kubrick’s intention to have her performance feel a certain way, and while his actions may not be ideal or even defendable, the result is a film that oozes perfection at nearly every turn (literally, when considering little Danny’s tricycle scenes).
And yes, it looked every bit as gorgeous as you’d expect on the big screen.