The Shining

In the annals of scary movies, The Shining (1980) is something of an art-film anomaly, since director Stanley Kubrick emphasizes the long build-up so much more than Jack Nicholson's final ax attack on his snowbound family. The swooping aerial shots, the Big Wheel pedaling down endless hallways, the dull talk of canned goods and Indian burial grounds, the thumping tennis ball—they lull you into a kind of dream state. There's a primal, fairy-tale quality laced with Oedipal conflict as this household of three is fatally divided. It matters less if Nicholson's blocked writer is demonically possessed (or Indian-cursed or evil reincarnated or whatever) than that he's simply a bad father—rough and impatient with his young son, cruelly dismissive of his wife (Shelley Duvall), selfish in his writerly ambitions. (Stephen King is never kind to his fellow scribes.) A failure at the typewriter, his imagination turns inward, rotting inside its own topiary maze. If King's book manifests more of that horror, Kubrick lingers upon its latency and origins. (R) BRIAN MILLER

Oct. 7-12, 9:30 p.m., 2011

 
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