Written by Hariharan Ramakrishnan
Stanley Kubrick is not just another director in Hollywood to let our eyes pass by; but one of the most talented, versatile, and erudite directors of all time. His creations are nothing short of all those masterpieces that the cinematic world always relishes with great zest and palpable ecstasy. He is one of those directors whose movies are celebrated by many but cherished by only a few. The uniqueness of his enigmatic pictures with phantasmagorical frames and shots which surprise us at almost every minute of the movie can make even the wryly deserted story without any fervour and colour to the characters into bright and reverberating pictures with an impeccable and insidious screenplay, making the characters delve into their depths and, at times, their peaks of intensity and drive the film into a completely new horizon for the audience to admire or astonish. He is not a sesquipedalian moviemaker but with the emotions hidden deep down into characters and the circumstances that he would like to play and cuddle with for an ostentatious manifestation of limpid stories and rudimentary scripts.
One of his masterpieces includes THE SHINING, which describes the plight of a young man named Jack Torrence, being driven to insanity, so intense that he even tends to kill his family. This is so because of the awfully suffocating loneliness lingering inside the historic Overlook Hotel, for which he was appointed as the off-season caretaker. The psychological disturbance, telepathy, the premonition ability of Jack’s boy, Danny, referred to as “the shining”, the mysterious incidents that take place thereafter are shown uniquely, completely distinctive from the other similar horror movies and trends pictured in Hollywood at that period. This individuality of Stanley Kubrick carved a special position in endless art of Cinema around the world as a punctilious director portraying not just lengthy, undeveloped scripts or the characters, but also utmost perfection in the vivid picturization of those characters in his mind, strolling and travelling around, in his way of manifestation.
The film will always be a pleasant spectacle to watch with the bizarre yet intriguing sets and surroundings and a nerve-gripping screenplay. It was an adaptation of the best-selling novel of the same name by Stephen King. The movie was criticised by the author himself, for the drastic changes and deviations made to the story and screenplay by Kubrick. The portrayal of many sequences, especially the ending scene, was altered by Kubrick for his artistic fulfilment to have shown the novel in such creative fervour to mirror his limpid insights of the story. This can be aptly said to be the essential virtue of a creator, who likes to tell his story without being rodomontade but, at the same time, reflecting upon the density, mood, and tone of the characters sans adulteration.
Enduring many criticisms assailed, The Shining has always been an unmitigated influence on filmmakers and audience alike who would always like to quench their thirst for the artistic manifestation of creativity by keenly noticing (not just having a glance or glimpse) the unabated emotions and expressions of every character and frame of masterpieces lovingly created by impeccable artists and masters on the field like Stanley Kubrick.
In addition to becoming a box-office hit with a massive global collection of a whopping $46.2 million, it has projected itself as a distinctive icon of world cinema and also a vibe of pop culture of America. Many series and its sequences highlight the popular frames and dialogues of the film that makes it sparkle.
Just as some artistic marvels fail to gather due recognition by the Oscars, The Shining also didn’t fall as an exception. It didn’t win any Oscars, even for the technical nuances that were shown meticulously in the film. But this didn’t stop it from creating an ever-lasting impact among the people and ardent cinema lovers and went on to set itself more than just another example of horror and thriller movies. It has become a role model and a learning school to those movies that try to highlight the horrendous and terrifying characters of every human that they have with themselves. It was Stanley Kubrick himself who had propounded this aspect of human personality by stating that, “...there's something inherently wrong with the human personality. There's an evil side to it. One of the things that horror stories can do is to show us the archetypes of the unconscious; we can see the dark side without having to confront it directly”. This school of thought had made him become an inspiration to many directors, generations then and now, to make them solemnly dedicated to manifest the different facades of a man on-screen to make people feel the terror off-screen.
The Shining has been treasured by the film fraternity of Hollywood for long and in 2018, the film was selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry by the Library of Congress as being “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant”. It would never fail to amuse the audience, be it the old classy people and the new film and entertainment freaks.
Every film would entertain the audience. Some would just indirectly demonstrate the workings of the film but very rarely films would play with the emotions of both the characters and the people. Such movies should be called masterpieces that still endure the dynamic tastes of the people coming to the theatres and also standing the test of time. After all;
“ALL WORK AND NO PLAY MAKES JACK A DULL BOY!”