While riddled with pacing issues, “Doctor Sleep” is filled with brilliant acting and a thrilling third act.
For years I have loved Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining. Stephen King’s film adaptations of his novels are a dime a dozen it seems these days and while some seriously hit the mark there are those that are supremely sub-par. Mike Flanagan’s Doctor Sleep is a direct sequel to The Shining so one could imagine how excited I was at the announcement of the sequel.
Ewan McGregor stars as a grown-up Danny Torrance and does a phenomenal job fleshing out the role in the best ways. McGregor is a force to be reckoned with in Hollywood. Joining him as Rose the Hat is Rebecca Ferguson who is nothing less than stellar. In a role that I don’t believe I’ve ever seen her play she provides so much grit and rawness with her character. But also worth noting is newcomer Kyleigh Curran. She held her own and then some with her role. I was very impressed at her ability. Which goes to show audiences, once again, that a big name actor/actress is not needed to be convincing. I’d be on the look out for her in the coming years! I’d also like to say I really appreciated all of the characters that they brought back from the original in the third act. So many iconic characters make the third act the best part of the movie. They were even able to bring back Danny Lloyd out from retirement in a small but very noticeable part. I loved the subtle nods to Kubrick’s movie that Flanagan was able to utilize in his.
The plot was very different to me and a little confusing. While the third act was superb the second act left a lot to be desired. I got a little bored halfway in. It was easy to follow but it definitely had its share of plot holes. It also did major scenes little justice by just blowing by them. Some of the more important scenes to the movie went by very quickly where some other scenes dragged and dragged on. That’s not to discredit the movie though because it really makes up for that in the last 30 to 45 minutes of the movie. The ending, for me, was a bit disappointing but I understand that that’s the only that was going to go down. I won’t say much more because I try to keep spoilers to a minimum. Just know that the scenes between Ferguson and Curran are thrilling and I love the chemistry that McGregor and Curran exude on screen.
One of the best elements of this movie is its cinematography. The filmmakers did a really brilliant job with recreating certain Kubrick-esque scenes and with filming and editing scenes that I think Kubrick would be impressed with. One scene that had me giddy was the scene where Danny is back in the Overlook Hotel and enters the infamous room and walks up to that hole in the door, just like Jack Torrance in the original (although a lot less crazy.) I loved the scenes they did with the maze and Rose the Hat as well. I lastly wanted to applaud the CGI-work used in the movie. I read where the filmmakers in recreating the famous scene where the blood comes flowing through the hallway used CGI to recreate the exact picture and I appreciated that because otherwise it would have looked very different.
THE. SCORE. As soon as those lights went out in the theater I got chills all up and down my arms because the very first thing the audience is faced with is the same infamous score from The Shining‘s opening credits. I could not stop smiling but also was supremely scared that something was going to grab me behind because I was alone in the theater. Seriously the music pulled it all together for me and I appreciated the several instances where they used the same music from the original which is a masterpiece.
I thought I would bless you with what I had to look at for two and a half hours (above). In all seriousness though if you’re a fan of The Shining or anything Stephen King-related then you’ll enjoy and appreciate this movie. It’s well done and just as heart-attack inducing as it gorgeous.