Saturday, 5 May 2012

The Shining : Analysing an Image # 2

Here Jack is smashing his way into the bathroom where Wendy cowers in fear

The wood-chopping man, the centuries-old strong and comforting figure of a husband and father is here turned against the family.

The wife and mother screams. As she brings her hand up to her face her wedding ring is visible.

From this acute angle across the door the axe seems so much bigger and the butcher (kitchen - female) knife Wendy holds so much smaller and inadequate seeming. This is a battle she appears incapable of winning.

The colours are cold, stark and anaemic. They are dirty and off-white. The tiles tell us that this is a room where things are meant to be clean and made clean. Instead there are stains: literal, be it on the walls themselves, or figurative, on the sanctity of home and the sacrament of marriage.

One briefly thinks of a more specific violation, rape, as the large axehead thrusts against and through the wood and, from this angle, 'into' her.

Her face shows abject terror. She looks as if she is weeping, overwhelmed with sadness that it has come to this.

With the axe in between us and her, she is made more helpless, separated from us. We are not able to intervene and are placed as if another victim hiding on the other side of the door.

However, the camera's focus (and ours) remains more on her than on the horrific axe, whose intrusion is more other-worldly, more difficult to comprehend by being indistinct and blurred.

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