The Shining, The Killing, A Space Odyssey

The Shining

Question 1

The other violent or disturbing scene is during a conversation between Jack and Grady where Grady casually mentions that he ‘corrected’ his family and emphasized how and why Jack needs to correct his family. However, the correction in this regard implies the demolition of his family which has been shown in a horrible graphic image. Therefore, Grady killed his two daughters with an axe leaving them in pools of blood which portrays a different level of the deterioration of American culture. In this context, deterioration of the American culture refers to how families unsubscribe from the normal and expected way of life which is ethically upright. Therefore, it is abnormal and unexpected for a husband to kill his family in the name of correcting his family. In fact, Dan also proceeds to orchestrate a murder attempt on his nuclear family.

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The other scene can be noted in the conversation between Wendy and Danny where Danny says he does not want to go to the hotel. The scene reverberates with social and cultural references because it exhibits an element of horror as well as the deterioration of the nuclear family. This is due to the fact that Danny speaks as Tony while refusing to go to the Hotel. Therefore, the viewer senses that something bad is bound to happen because Tony has psychic abilities. This portrays the element of horror in the film. In regards to the deterioration of the American family, Danny’s refusal shows that something is not right with the family if due to Danny’s disobedience of her mother’s words. In fact, the disobedience is a prevalent trend in the vast majority of American families. The thing about the horror story in the film is that it exhibits the ability to exhibit the archetypes of the unconscious by showing the dark side without confronting it directly.

In the film, the viewer can also suspect that Danny has been abused because of the appearance of his alternate persona who is a spirit named ‘Tony.’ As per the context of the film, Tony is an imaginary friend who speaks to Danny in a lower register. Therefore, it seems that the use of inverted stars in this regard was deliberate because it later turns out that Jack assaulted Danny hence showing a reverberation of social and cultural references. The inverted stars can be seen in the blue red and white attire worn by Danny. The stars have been symbolically used to depict the pentagrams prevalent in the occult. The essence of the reverberation is the author’s quest to ‘massage’ his horror so that it does not come off as blatantly scary.

The horror narration method portrayed in Kubrick’s film works better compared to the traditional violent films because Stanley Kubrick has successfully depicted the deterioration of American society by embracing national self-reflexivity. The film does not come off as a traditional horror film because it does not reveal a specific source of horror. For instance, one can notice the prevalence of dichotomy between Torrance’s psychosis and the threat of ghosts. In this regard, the viewer is compelled to find their source of horror throughout the film unlike other traditional horror films. His style also gives him a platform to portray classism and racism which are the proponents of the American culture. For instance, it follows that the Overlook hotel has been built on an Indian burial ground and this shows some elements of racism. In addition, racism is ingrained in the hotel as noted in the scene where Grady refers to Halloran as a ‘nigger’ in their conversation with Jack.
In this regard, the method portrays a touch of cinematic devices which differentiates the film from other traditional horror movies.

Therefore, the film is not only scary because of the horror scenarios therein, but also Kubrick’s ability to use elements that resonate with the audience. The events in the film show the deployment of a skill that surpasses the mere photographing of script unlike the traditional horror movies. The method also makes Kubrick come off as a film maker with a conceptual talent and who seems to digress from the conventional approach of a director’s work. In fact, the film is not only about ghosts but also madness and energies that magnify the scary moments of the scary scenarios. For this reason, Kubrick’s method works compared to the traditionally violent scenes that are prevalent in traditional horror films.

Question 2

The dynamics of the Torrence family allows characters the vulnerability to become more believable victims because it seems that Kubrick has little interest in his characters as people. This does not create a weakness in the overall effect of the film because Kubrick has used the characters as carriers for thematic ideas or allegory. For this reason, the film should not be perceived to be a critical study per se. For instance, Wendy is terrified by the enraged Jack because he also received different versions of the psychic output and this makes them lose reality. In this regard, Wendy is not sure why Jack is angry because he also has psychic outputs that might differ from Danny’s. Therefore, Jack’s and Danny loose reality because they can somehow sense the past and present unlike Wendy.

Therefore, the dysfunctional family delivers uncertainty through the perpetration of actions that catch the viewer’s off-guard. As a result, one cannot be certain on what happens in the film, why it happens and how it happens. Additionally, even though Duvall seems mousy, she reaches sheer depths of terror hence highlighting how the film allows the characters the vulnerability to become more believable victims.
The nature of the Torrence family leaves the viewer wondering whether Kubrick aimed at film perfectionism or whether he was pulling a mind game to convince his family they were trapped in a hotel. In fact, the dysfunctional status of the family can be noted early in the film because it is evident Jack abuses Danny and Wendy while Danny is feared due to his mysterious spells. It also turns out that there’s a stronger bond between Danny and Wendy as compared to Danny and Jack. However, this is typical of any household where sons tend to have a closer relationship with their mothers. However, the connection between Danny and Wendy gives Jack a premonition that his family might be conspiring against him hence portraying a lack of family cohesiveness. This has been effective in enabling the characters to become more believable victims because Jack might attempt to kill Danny and Wendy on the pretext that they have ill motives against him. The attempt has been fuelled by Jack’s paranoid notion. In fact, if the family was cohesive, it could have caught the viewer off-guard when the father killed his son and wife

Moreover, the relationship between Wendy and Danny does not exhibit typical mother and son relations because Danny feels superior as he is guided by Tonny who notifies him of the past and the future. As a result, the mother does not fully trust his son while their father does not trust Danny and Wendy. In fact, the distrust explains why Jack is instructed by most of his ghosts to ‘take care’ of his family. However, even though the family seems dysfunctional, the disparity between the members does not permeate throughout the movie because there are some scenes which show how a family comes together in times of adversity. For instance, Wendy also exhibits submission, passiveness and gentleness which can be observed in the scene where she defends Jack in the absence of the doctor. The audience was also reassured that Jack’s wife and son were okay even after the occurrence of a murderous rampage. However, even though this does not particularly portray the dysfunctionality of the family, it does not create a weakness in the overall effect of the film.

The Killing

Question 1

The technique used is simultaneous events in time where Kubrick ‘puts back the clock’ as each part of the race track robbery reaches its climax. The technique of ‘putting back the clock’ has been effective in the sense that it portrays an original element which involves the use of non-linear timeline. It exhibits a ‘time element’ style editing where different scenarios jump back and forth. In fact, this has been used to show the movement of gang members before the moment of the heist as well as how it led to the moment of the heist. The film has overlapping and repetitive structures that do not conform to a specific chronological order. The style is unique compared to a direct story line which is embraced in the vast majority of other heist films and this makes the film stand out. An example is when George promises his wife about the robbery and promises to give her money as soon as they get married. However, it turns out that Sherry has a relationship with another man named Val.

Moreover, there is a scene that shows Johnny movement as he opens a door and walks down a hallway. However, the camera zooms back at some point to show the viewer that they have been viewing the scene through a mirror. This is just a shift in camera angle where the camera was just filming the mirror reflection to the viewer. The ramification of this is that Kubrick’s use of this method enables him to dig deeper and explore all the nitty-gritties prevalent throughout the film. The other scene where the technique of ‘putting back the clock’ has been used is where Johnny wears a clown mask and walk in the back room after which he holds men at gun point. However, the men look at him as though he had pulled a crazy move but the scene becomes humorous as soon as it hit them that he has a gun. The film also shows a man with a clown mask robbing other men millions of dollars at the same time. This is when Val squeezes his trigger and spray kills the other men and injuring George severely. This shows how events have been made simultaneous which is the essence of the technique.

The technique of ‘putting back the clock’ has also been effective in the narrative because it has enabled Kubrick to post dub dialogues and use voice over. The technique has also been effective in helping him blend his visual flare and close-up shots. The technique also makes the film more visually impressive compared to the vast majority of heist films. Such a technique makes the film comes off as a masterpiece because Kubrick works with a tight narrative. Therefore, he dispenses bits of information to prolong the film length time. As a result, the viewer is glued to the screen as they appreciate Kubrick’s directing style. Moreover, the ambience created blends well with the technique of ‘putting back the clock’ as used by the author.

However, it is imperative to acknowledge that the style is also a function of the context of the film. In this regard, the film has different events that were transpiring at the same time and this could not have been effectively incorporated in a direct story line. An example is Johnny’s attempt to seduce Sherry, unexpected explosions from Nicki and hiring the shooter who assassinated the horse. Moreover, the technique requires one to lay emphasis on the precise dates and time of the day hence making it an artistic work. The style has also been used to show how Kubrick has done his job in providing a well-made film that portrays a strong theme and meaning. It also shows that the film had been well planned and executed and took time to think up. However, from a general perspective, the movie is an excellent heist film as it features fine performances of Elisha Cook and Sterling Hayden.

A Space Odyssey

Question 1

I stand on the positive side of the outlook debate because it shows the transition of humans to beings of pure energy and limitless capabilities. Therefore, a man’s potential has been shown to be in line with a higher order of beings in every step of the movie. This depicts a creative and staggering imagination that gives credit to the directing techniques portrayed in the film. The portrayal of humans is also so advanced that it becomes funny to some extent. This adds taste and humor to the film. For instance, the cast members only become subject to mechanical celebration on the most important days of their life as well as the important days of their loved ones. In this respect, a space scientist telephones his daughter for her birthday which shows a lack of personal touch that ‘less advanced’ humans ought to experience. This is the epitome of the transition to humans of pure energy and spirit. In fact, it portrays an alien race that has undergone several stages of evolution in the quest of becoming biomechanical.

Similarly, in the final moments of the film, the star child is brought to the attention of the viewer to symbolize new beginning. The star child is an immortal being that resides within space and has been cultured to deal and handle the technology around it which is a positive thing. The Star Child is at infant level of knowledge and understanding the world of the monoliths. However, the film also portrays an element of falseness because it is unlikely that the Alien forms would bear resemblance with the terrestrial life. Moreover, the use of actors to portray humanoid aliens does not come off as a convenient strategy. The context and story line of the film is also premised on a non-existent narrative even though it turns out to be technically stunning as it offers a convincing portrayal of space travel. This makes the film baffling and interesting to watch as the viewer indulges in how events unfold. In fact, the final scenes of the film seem to be more metaphorical as opposed to being realistic.

In fact, it also follows that when one goes with the optimistic stance of the outlook debate, they tend to derive pleasure from the film because they do not focus on the negative aspects of the film. As a result, the film becomes hypnotically entertaining and funny without being gaggy. However, some of the higher powers achieved by the humans in the film have only be used for the purpose of the film in the quest of enabling the viewers to resonate with the director’s point of view. For instance, the zero gravity effect was created through the suspension of the cast members using wires. Moreover, the cameras were set at the bottom so as to give an angle that made it seem like the members were suspended as their bodies blocked the wires. Therefore, the pessimistic estimate of a man’s potential should not be considered in the film because the superiority has only been done for the purpose of the film.

Moreover, the presumption that man is dependent on higher order of being for every step of progress is inaccurate and misleading. This is because different predicaments that transpire require a different kind of person hence compelling humans to adjust accordingly. Subsequently, the adjustment paves way for a higher order of being. For this reason, it turns out that humans are shaped by different circumstances which should be the premise of the optimistic outlook debate which portrays a positive side of humans. In fact, it would portray a negative picture of humans if they remained indifferent notwithstanding the changes taking place within their surroundings and environment in general.

Question 2

The radical difference between the two films is that the theme of DR. Strangelove revolves around a war and the nuclear conflict of two countries. For this reason, the theme and context of the film is based on a realistic story line whose possibility of occurring is high. In contrast, 2001: A Space Odyssey revolves around top notch technological advances that are entertaining even though they are unlikely to happen. The theme and context also revolves around invisible aliens who are the catalyst that help humans evolve. However, the film has minor elements of reality. An example is when Dr. Heywood pulls out a credit card that resembles the plastic card we use today.
The other disparity between the two films revolves around the style of filming and production. In 2001: A Space Odyssey, the production has been centered on a depiction of alien life and comparing it with the terrestrial life. It also features special effects such as front projection which has exhibits a separate scenery projector. The viewer can also notice in-camera shots that depict spacecraft’s moving across space. It also embraces a touch of non-verbal experience and digresses from the conventional techniques of narrative cinema.

The film and production is interesting as the viewer tries to adjust to the imaginary world exhibited in the film. In contrast, the film and production in DR. Strangelove pertains to a thriller that has been centered on a nuclear accident and a balance of terror which has been exemplified by the cold war between the two countries. The film is also a spoof of political and military insanity. However, the movie starts with a nerve wrecking attitude because it becomes hard for the viewer to be convinced that that the attack was ordered. There is also a tension between USSR and United States before the commencement of the strike on the communist state.

The similarity between the two films is that they exhibit thrilling and top notch levels of technology that have been used to substantiate the context of the films. For instance, in 2001: A Space Odyssey, the film shows how humans have been saturated in their technological advancements which is a prerequisite before being elevated to the next level of their existence. Subsequently, the higher level exhibits more complicated and intricate technology levels after which the aliens will be elevated again until it poses a challenge of reaching Jupiter. The evolutionary steps are kick started by the monolith as they are portrayed as being the caretakers of the universe. The monolith is a highly advanced alien civilization whose ulterior objective is ensuring the evolution of humans. In fact, the monolith has been the epitome of technological advancement. Similarly, in DR. Strangelove, exhibits top notch technology especially in the scene where the Soviet Union creates a doomsday device that entails many Cobalt-Thorium G bombs that are detonated through a computer network. The technology ensures the country is safe from any resulting nuclear attacks. Moreover, Cobalt-Thorium is capable of rendering the earth inhabitable for more than ninety years. The other similarity between the two films is the style used because they both aim at surpassing the status quo. In the DR. Strangelove, the United States and the USSR are devising ways in which they can outdo each other in the event of a war breaking out as a result of the ongoing cold war. Similarly, in 2001: A Space Odyssey, the humans portrayed in the film surpasses the status quo by advancing to higher levels that contains a more advance technology.

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