Doctor Sleep ★★★★★

So after the bitter experience of the mediocrity of IT: Chapter Two, this movie.

This damn movie.


I wasn’t really a fan of the book it is based on; it meanders a lot, and I felt confused about where people were geographically (important when the book involves a road trip from Maine to Colorado!) and I felt the villains weren’t very threatening, and that the book overall just didn’t have a whole lot of tension.

The movie fixes all of that; it pares a lot of the fat, including one subplot and a shitload of unnecessary characters, and just generally cleans up the narrative a great deal. 

Part of the question was whether this movie would be a sequel to Kubrick’s film adaptation of The Shining, or King’s novel; the two diverge at a particular point and wind up in very different places. While King dislikes Kubrick’s movie, simply ignoring it would, well, here’s a tangent.

The habit of rebooting or ignoring films that weren’t well received is colossally lazy and creatively bankrupt. Barring rare exceptions (The Nolan, Burton, and Schumaker films can easily be taken as different universes given how different they are) it’s a smack in the face to a director and crew who presumably did their best and just didn’t quite pull it off.

 Also, the Kubrick Shining is a great damn film and expecting Kubrick, who influenced films and filmmaking to a massive degree and was only rivalled by Spielberg at the time in terms of being a titan of filmmaking, to just crank out a straight adaptation of the novel is silly. That was never going to happen.

Flanagan plays it smart here and pulls from both. The film hews (generally) to the structure of the book, besides a completely different ending and a general streamlining, and knows when to acknowledge the Kubrick film and when not to, so that by the end, when we’re treated to an exact recreation of the opening shot from Kubrick’s film and an utterly operatic treatment of the original film’s main theme, it just clicks and feels like a perfect start to an ending. 

In summation, I really liked this movie; go see it.

charlesgns222 liked this review