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The Shining This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

Stanley Kubrick is without a doubt one of the greatest filmmakers ever. Starting small with films like “Killer's Kiss,” his work progressively became larger and more thematically complex until he created masterpieces like “2001: A Space Odyssey,” “A Clockwork Orange,” and “Full Metal Jacket.”

“The Shining,” based on the Stephen King novel, is another example of Kubrick's brilliance and significance in cinematic history. He created more than just a horror film; it is a world of madness that is occupied by the horrific and supernatural.

Jack Torrance, an aspiring novelist, and his family, Wendy and Danny, move into the Overlook Hotel for the winter. Jack has been hired as caretaker, and they are expected to watch over the empty hotel for the next five months. While Jack and Wendy are optimistic about the move (she believes the trip will ease her abusive husband), Danny is very wary. Because of his psychic abilities, or “shine,” Danny catches a brief yet horrific glimpse into what lies ahead for them – madness, murder, and interactions with the dead.

Kubrick sets the film up brilliantly. We feel the increasing unease and insanity as the camera watches the Torrances slowly drive to the Overlook Hotel. The creepy music and fantastic visuals add atmosphere.

We get to know all of the major players very, very well. Even in moments of silence and small-talk, we see and understand this crumbling family. The characters are fantastically created; watching their descent into turmoil is both troubling and fascinating, making for some truly great cinema. Not once did I find them unbelievable or uninteresting.

If a great character-oriented narrative isn't enough, the film's cinematography is beyond gorgeous. In typical Kubrick-style, virtually every detail, lens angle, and shot is used in a precise and flowing manner. Never once does the film seem inviting, instead using its visuals, music, and script to make the hotel as large and menacing as possible. The Gold Room, the maze, the long and winding corridors – the film is out to make you feel unnerved and it succeeds.

The pacing is brilliant as well. Though it runs for two and a half hours, you barely feel the time pass. It'll keep your attention until the chilling conclusion.

“The Shining” is a masterpiece through and through. Fascinating characters, macabre spirits, amazing visuals, and a terrific atmosphere make this horror masterpiece one of Kubrick's best.

This movie is rated R.

This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.




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