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REVIEW: DOCTOR SLEEP (2019)

December 15, 2019

Usually, the word 'sequel' is pre-fixed with 'long-awaited'. But did anyone, besides die-hard Stephen King fans, really want a followup to The Shining? Sure, the idea sounds good on paper. But could any filmmaker really hope to come close, let alone equal, the majesty of Stanley Kubrick's timeless predecessor?

 

 

Mike Flanagan certainly has a go with Doctor Sleep (an adaptation of King's novel of the same name) but is ultimately compromised by an eagerness to be respectful to both the source material and the aforementioned genre classic (famously hated by King himself). What we get as a consequence is an overwrought and torturously long film that clumsily shifts from new, fleetingly intriguing narrative tropes and poorly executed (and often laughably bad) return trips to the Overlook Hotel. It is yet another case of needless Hollywood revisionism that makes the persons responsible look painfully unoriginal, especially in a year when burgeoning auteurs such as Ari Aster released new material.

 

It's no surprise that the established members of the cast, specifically Ewan McGregor and Rebecca Ferguson, appear to be treading water for most of proceedings, only ever scratching the surface of their characters. The former is particularly uninspired, struggling to make anything of material that completely wastes the opportunity to go deeper into the character of Danny Torrance.For much of the film, he wears the same expression as the one I did when sat in the audience - a look of deep apathy and disinterest, which is more than befitting for a film that says so very little.

 

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