"While The Shining may not be one of the two or three best of Kubrick's output, one can still be mystified at the manner at which casual aesthetes will take pot shots at this macabre portrait of a mind unraveling.
Iconic scenes abound: the child rumbling his tricycle through lonely stretches of corridor, the slo mo shots of the elevator gushing a wave of blood, Jack Nicholson bursting through a door with an axe. While it is easy to be awed by Kubrick’s visual innovation and mastery, he is given short shrift in other domains. Occasional slags target this films greater emphasis on mood than intricate plot, yet elsewhere in these pages countless other reviews extol films offering a similar emphasis. Why not slag Godard’s output for de-emphasizing characterization in Breathless or Weekend?
While Kubrick’s camera tracking movements and zooms are complex, the visual compositions are composed in beautiful symmetry. Characters are placed centrally, and the dialogue is largely minimal and to the point, yet without seeming mawkish and unnatural (did the use of 50-140 takes per scene facilitate this?). The formal beauty of the visual design makes the ghostly camera movements and unhinging Nicholson personae seem all the more frightening. The use of 20th century composers (Ligeti, Penderecki, Bartok) in 2001 & The Shining forever changed how popular audiences came to hear the avant-garde. You might not dig Bartok, but his music will live on longer than flippant reviews, as will Kubrick’s iconic horror piece."