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The Shining, Extended Cut

Directed by Stanley Kubrick

USA, 1980

Cornerhouse, 4 November 2012

The Shining

Kubrick’s classic is an effective, though on reflection not quite coherent horror film, of main interest for how the tensions in Jack and Wendy’s marriage are brought to the surface in the isolated splendour of the salubrious, mountainside Overlook hotel.

A couple of years previously, Jack had hurt their son when drunk, an apparent accident (of course, Kubrick knows that such things don’t exist) which dislocated the boy’s shoulder.  Wendy puts up a good front, but has never really forgiven him.  Nor does Wendy believe, really, in Jack’s talent as a writer.  She’s just going along for the ride, hoping he’ll see sense and come clean, give it all up at the last.  But he’s hardly going to admit that he is a talentless schmuck, a wannabe artist, a venal waster.  And so the nightmare – the real one, their marriage – continues…

Until, that is, it is overtaken by paranormal events and spills over into the cartoon nightmare, the horror so-called.

It is not Kubrick’s finest film (nor Jack Nicholson’s, come to that) but – as with any Kubrick film – it has its fair share of satisfactions: Shelley Duvall’s down-home air of denial, the way she steadfastly maintains the pretense that everything will turn out right, I very much enjoyed her performance; there were, as you might expect, a coterie of creepy moments; and some inventive and strange cinematography, as you’d naturally expect from this great director.

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