“The Shining” is a searing piece of work, a film that sears itself on your emotions, imagination, and senses. Halloran’s line of “events leaving traces of themselves behind” sets up the rest of the film in a way that, even after a second viewing, still crawls up behind you and sodomizes your expectations. Torrance’s descent into madness spills over into reality and our earlier suspicion of the whole family, being open to the paranormal – seeing ‘dead’ people’ – is confirmed. Danny Lloyd’s character does see into the past and present, into the hidden motives of his father, Shelley Duvall’s does communicate with her son telepathically. Or not? We never know.
All the classic hallmarks of Kubrick’s style are present: poetic slow pans, the juxtaposition of serene classical music against scenes of destruction of humans, and the haunting experimental music that brings tension and suspense to a rapid boil.
This may be Martin Scorsese’s foray into the terrain, usually lorded over, by Michel Gondry, Spike Jonez, and Christopher Nolan. “Shutter Island” fuses the quick cuts, the splattering blood, the blood congealed around dead bodies, the rapid camera movements back and forth, into a psychological narrative, reminiscent of Charlie Kaufman’s work.
It’s my strong view that, if hindsight was accessible through an app on our web browsers, Soderbergh should have looked at the ending of this film to bring about the twist and ending in “The Informant” with the development and wrap up of Mark Whitacre’s fate. I couldn’t help but juxtapose the final conversation between Dr. Cawley, Dr. Leehan, and Andrew, with the conversation between Mark Whitacre, Mark Shephard, and Whitacre’s wife. Scorsese’s handling is masterful yet complete; it hits us and suddenly realize the world in which we have been for the last 2 hours. DiCaprio shines in this role, comfortably wading between the hard-ass, the resolute, the reminiscent, and the extremely vulnerable. With “Inception” and “Shutter Island” behind him, DiCaprio shows us that he can traverse the terrains of psychological horror and thriller just as much as John Malkovich or Heath Ledger.
Beautiful, striking, and measured photography. A lot of DiCaprio’s dream sequences seem to be Freudian dream interpretations down to the last tittle. And watch out for the Dinah Washington epic number in the credits; you won’t miss it if you pay attention.
“White Wedding” is like going to a coffee shop, the best one you know, ordering their best cappuccino. You take out a toolkit. In front of everyone sitting at this coffee shop, you strain out the luscious cream and throw it over your shoulder. You pull out a bottle of tepid, mildewy water and throw it in to weaken the java. And you then mix it altogether, along with drops of aniseed and pig poo from prepared pipettes, and then knock it back like a cheap tequila.
This elaborate analogy applies to this film. This is when filmmaking goes really wrong. There’s nothing redeeming about this film. There’s nothing even ha-ha funny about this film. I struggled to stay alert and awake. I finished it only to be able to write this review with a clear conscience. The screenplay is fatally flawed and the supporting cast are weak, to be merciful, and do little to cover up or, ideally, improve the flat, mediocre performances by Rapulana Seiphemo and Kenneth Nkosi. The scene in the boere bar was so badly handled and executed that it should be left in the toolkit as a pigment to be used for another project. Or not at all. There must be another way to portray Afrikaaners in this country other than beer-drinking, trigger-happy oafs who are cardboard cutouts of yesteryear. It’s just so over now, you know.
The juxtaposition of Rose and her friend, and Tumi and Elvis, is not developed enough and it’s not given any time to mature or ferment in the barrel. It’s rushed and we are expected to just coo and pine, and tickle its little pink feet.
This film is another poor example of South African cinema, going through all the usual stereotypes in expected fashion, as if lying on their backs to make a quick buck. I really don’t understand how people ranted and raved about the hilarity of this film back then, when it was released. This is not in the league of Tsotsi or Jerusalema in any way. This is more like the “Mr Bones” franchise, but stereotypes this time perpetuated by black people rather than insensitive white people.
Mr. Seiphemo and Mr. Nkosi, you can do so much better. I know you can. This is not the best you can do. We need to move forward in this country, make great films, tell real stories rather than recycle stereotypes in a brainless way, hoping we can make just as much money as Leon Schuster.