One of the most ambiguous movies shot by Stanley Kubrick is “The Shining”—a horror film, that tells a story of a family that has moved into a hotel called the Overlook, which was inhabited by ghosts. Throughout the film, the plot develops around the Torrance family: Jack, Wendy, and their son Danny. Kubrick based the film on a novel written by Steven King of the same name. The literary source is rather thrilling and intriguing, and the film can basically be given the same positive assessment.
According to the screenplay, Jack Torrance, a writer who had quit abusing alcohol, moves into a distant hotel in the mountains with his family. The winter weather conditions render the hotel fully isolated from the outer world. All roads leading to it are covered with snow, so no vehicles can pass. During this period, the hotel is closed. Isolation, however, is what Jack needs to write his new novel, and at the same time, he will work as the hotel’s keeper. The hotel was built on a patch of land where an old Indian cemetery was located. During the film, Jack Torrance (Jack Nicolson), influenced by the evil spirits, gradually goes insane and attempts to kill his wife Wendy (Shelley Duvall) and son Danny (Danny Lloyd), but fails to do so and dies.
The first and foremost criterion to evaluate “The Shining” is the atmosphere that was reproduced in the film. Kubrick managed to convey a sense of isolation and detachment, as well as the supernatural fear constantly increasing throughout the film. Despite the luxurious furnishing, the Overlook hotel looks like a cemetery. The tension is also delivered through scenes with ghosts and the depictions of how Jack gradually loses his mind. One of the most horrifying moments in the film is when Wendy takes a look at the manuscript Jack had been writing during the period of time their family spent in the hotel. She sees that all pages are scribbled with just one phrase: “All fun and no play makes Jack a dull boy,” and she then understands that her husband is completely insane. The sense of fear and desperation, which Kubrick intended to convey to the audience, is delivered masterfully, thus speaking in the film’s favor.
Then, speaking of the acting, with the exception of Jack Nicholson and Scatman Crothers, it is unfortunately unconvincing. While Jack Nicholson managed to create an image of a psychotic writer suffering from alcoholism, the other two members of the Torrance family, played by Shelley Duvall and Danny Lloyd, look stilted and simulated. In the case of Danny Lloyd, allowances can be made for him because of his age and lack of acting experience; however, Shelley Duvall in this particular movie is not at her best. In most action scenes, her play looks factitious, and sometimes inappropriate, which is irritating. This makes significant contrast to Nicholson’s character who is persuasive, such as in the scene when he breaks the bathroom door with a fire ax. This is, perhaps, one of the best scenes in the film.
The technical performance is also important for the film’s evaluation, and “The Shining” can be noted for a high level of cinematography. The film introduces a number of novelties that were never used before, or were used rarely. Almost all stills with Danny were shot from the growth rate of a small boy. This technique helps the audience feel the world of a child in a more realistic manner, and view the ghosts and the surrounding scary environment through his eyes. Also, during the filming, a Steadycam system was used. This technology allows for the stabilization of the picture in dynamic scenes. For example, the scene when Danny rides his bicycle in the hotel’s corridors was shot with the help of this device.
“The Shining” is an excellent horror movie, made by a renowned director, based on a famous writer’s novel. It portrays a dense atmosphere of despair and isolation, which is valuable when portraying the plot. Technical novelties used during the filming also contribute to the positive assessment of the film. One of the most significant factors speaking in favor of “The Shining” is Jack Nicholson’s acting ability in portraying the image of a psychotic writer, who is convincing and genuinely scary. However, in his background, other personages are lost due to the characters played by Shelley Duvall and Danny Lloyd looking simulated.
King, Stephen. The Shining. New York: DoubleDay Publishers, 1977. Print.
Kubrick, Stanley, dir. The Shining. Warner Brothers, 1980. Film.
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Writing an Evaluation Essay
Content of this article
- Movie review writing guide
- Forrest Gump analysis (example)
- Review structure
- More examples
- Movie related essay samples
1. Movie Review Writing
A lot of people like movies and films. These things add thrill and imaginations to our lives. This, therefore, makes us come to the conclusion that a movie is worth a review if it has been watched. Everyone has a different opinion on the movies they watch – the ratings can range from being great to good or even bad. Thought there are an increasing number of movie sites available on the Internet (some of which are authoritative, others less so (more below)), movie reviews and reviewers are still very much in demand for their own unique takes on a movie. The different types of reviewers can offer different types of writing, which is something that is good in a market which is rapidly becoming over-saturated. Everyone can review a movie, but there are still some differences between the reviewing done by experts, and reviewing done by amateurs – the amateurs are not usually focused on the minutiae of the film in the same way, and are instead focused more on the general ideas presented.
The primary purpose of movie review writing is to give the reader a rough idea of what the movie is about. The movie review greatly determines if an individual wants to watch the movie or not. This type of writing should, therefore, be detailed enough to assist the reader in making an honest decision. As much as the review is based on elaborating the movie review outline, it should not give away the plot of the movie or the surprises that make the movie enjoyable. Opinions on a movie need to be stated clearly, good or bad. If the review is to be brief, stars and scores can also be used to express the reviewer’s thoughts. A good writer should, therefore, have the basic knowledge of how to write a movie review.
- Great movie: Almost Christmas is a movie that has balanced all its features to make a great movie. All the characters fit their roles and make the plot come to life. The costumes and the soundtracks are a plus as they enhance the emotions and feelings of every story line. Almost Christmas is, therefore, a movie worth watching.
- Good movie: London has Fallen is an okay movie. The graphics were on point as well as the sound effects. The cast, however, I felt weren’t up to the task, and did not bring out the feel of the movie. The actors, therefore, led to what was otherwise quite a good time-killing movie (if not a good movie overall) being let down. Additionally, the plot was difficult to comprehend.
- Bad movie: No matter how much you watch Central Intelligence, you can’t get a hold of the movie. The stunts are overrated, and the storyline is off, making the movie boring. The movie is a definite no, and not even worth spending time watching when there is nothing else to watch on TV. Definitely a flop.
2. Complete analysis (Forrest Gump)
- Plot analysis: the movie falls in the genre of modern fiction (modern history is generally considered to stretch from the fifteenth century up, although this category is further divided into early modern (1500s to 1700s) and late modern (1700s to present), with Tom Hanks playing the role of Forrest Gump. His character moves through history and survives all the hardships with decency and honesty.
- Soundtrack analysis: the soundtrack reflects the mood that was popular at the time, which, in turn, creates urgency. The songs are great hits and are appropriate for children to listen to as well. The soundtrack helps to illustrate the transitions of the film’s locations – from warm and safe territory to a more hostile borders. For instance, the song by Fleetwood (Go Your Way) is used to illustrate how Forrest is joined by his friends in his journey. The soundtrack is an integral part of the movie experience, as it brings an emotional centre-point to the move by helping people to better understand just how high the stakes are in certain scenes. The soundtrack is also to convey the terrifying nature of the war scenes, thus helping the movie to pack even more of an emotional punch.
- Atmosphere: later on in the movie, the atmosphere changes – the troops go out on patrol and are far away from their bases which are safe. The atmosphere becomes tense, and at the same time captivating. Having the atmosphere change throughout a movie emphasises that what is happening is actually serious and will have consequences, and the movie Forrest Gump is no different. If the atmosphere is incorrect, then, the movie will not feel so real to the people who are watching it. the movie starts with the atmosphere of the beach party. Music is playing in the background, and people are enjoying barbecue and playing cards. The troops are not left behind as they are seen loading crates of beers in their trucks.
- The main idea of the film: The main idea portrayed in Forrest Gump is that life is filled with unknown surprises. This is substantially illustrated by Forrest Gump himself, who is just a country boy with learning difficulties. Forrest, however, does not let this obstacle define him, and goes to great lengths to be a relevant person in history. The film, while containing some darkness and violence due to the war and its aftermath, is therefore an uplifting and invigorating film, as it shows how people can prevail against all odds, and even thrive. A film needs to have one (or possibly two, though more is of course harder to maintain) main idea if it is to remain coherent throughout.
- Actors play analysis: Tom Hanks fits the role perfectly as he manages to express the love for the country. He portrays the feelings of sadness and comedy at the same time. Forrest, therefore, makes the movie interesting. Tom Hanks is a strong actor, and it is mainly due to his efforts as the lead which make the film as powerful and memorable as it is.
3. Review structure
The structure of a movie review follows the basic steps of the introduction, the body (analysis), the recommendation and the movie review conclusion. A movie review writing guide gives the writer instructions on how to write a movie review. The movie review structure is as follows.
3.1 The introduction
A movie review should open up with an introduction. The introduction is the most appealing way of how to start a movie review, and contains the summary of the movie and opinion that will be stated. Movie review writing hooks give the readers a general feel of what will be illustrated in the review. The introduction for a movie review has to be appealing, so that the reader can get the feel of wanting to read more.
Give a brief illustration of what will be discussed in the review and then proceed to the thesis. Ensure that the thesis is original and at the same time based on the analysis. The thesis for a movie review should be compelling and reflect on a contemporary issue, while the argument should go beyond the plot and straight to the film criticism. Illustrate both the message of the movie and how the film connects to an individual. The thesis paragraph can be followed up with a short summary plot. The section will also give an overview of what will be contained in the body.
3.2 Body paragraphs (analysis)
The analysis covers the fails and accomplishments within the movie, and also gives the writer a chance to express their feelings towards it. The cinematography, acting, the setting, and soundtrack can also be discussed in this section. Ensure that the writing is smooth and easy to comprehend. For the review to seem realistic and professional, present facts and opinions in the same page, and try to use examples that are descriptive in order to bring the plot to life. Dialogue snippets can and should be quoted to give the review snappiness. You can add a few movie review tips such as giving the language used some personality, in order to create a style which will reflect a unique perspective to entertain the reader.
A movie review structure can also have a recommendation. The recommendation gives the writers a chance to commend the film and decide if it’s worth the money.
The conclusion for a movie review should be in a position to be tied up with the thesis. The conclusion should also offer guidance of whether to watch the film or not. There are a number of ways of how to end a movie review. However, the most effective style is to make it compelling and at the same time entertaining.
4. Polishing the review
The review is polished through editing. The final content should go hand in hand with the movie review draft. Fine tune the review to ensure it is in line with the thesis. Ensure that the content has enough examples to back up the claims. You should also proofread the review to eliminate any spelling mistakes and errors that can be avoided – movie review writing needs to be precise and free of errors. Finally, share the review with friends and family and see if it has an impact on their opinions of the movie.