Stanley Kubrick's films are some of the most analyzed pieces of cinema, especially his horror masterpiece The Shining. Brimming with intrigue, clues, and hidden messages, Kubrick's 1980 film has been given the royal treatment when it comes to analysis, even becoming the subject of the documentary Room 237 that digs deep into the possible meanings behind the director's cinematic choices, and Darren Foley of Must See Films offers up another engaging video essay, this time on Kubrick's enigmatic work, that explores some intriguing theories on the possible theme of "history repeating itself."
There's no doubt that Kubrick aimed at revealing the darkest emotional and psychological corners of humanity, not just in this film, but throughout his entire career. Using themes and images, like a wave of blood coming out of an elevator, or the decaying old woman (or women, as Foley posits -- but we'll get to that), The Shining is not only rife with scares and chill-inducing scenes to thrill audiences, but clues, signs, and riddles that lead to larger, overarching themes and ideas about Kubrick's views on the human condition.
In Foley's video essay, he digs into two possible readings of the film: the idea of "history repeating itself" and the possible abuse of Danny at the hand of his father, Jack. By comparing several compositions, as well as looking closely at how the scenes line up when played forward and backward (which is broken down nicely here), you can start to see some similarities between seemingly unrelated scenes.
Check out Foley's video essay below:
Analyzing films is never a perfect science; there are surely many theories out there that you don't agree with. However, learning how to think critically about how a film is put together, from the mise-en-scène to the editing techniques not only makes us more adept viewers, but more adept filmmakers. (Plus -- analyzing films is fun!)