Room 237

"Very Good"

Room 237 Review


It's great fun to explore geeky theories about Stanley Kubrick's iconic horror film The Shining, even if most of them are too spurious to take seriously. As it outlines each theory, this documentary takes us deep into the film, often frame-by-frame, to discover things we'd never seen. It's so ridiculously nerdy that it makes us laugh. But it also helps us re-examine Kubrick's playful genius.

Subtitled "Being an Inquiry Into The Shining in 9 Parts", the documentary gives five movie obsessives a chance to explain their observations, complete with whatever evidence they can find to support their ideas. Obviously, these people have far too much time on their hands, watching the film over and over again to find the tiniest evidence that, for example, the film's real message is about the Holocaust and the genocide of Native Americans. While this seems rather far-fetched, we may agree that Kubrick may have been subtly exploring the way we suppress dark chapters in human history.

Director Ascher mixes in clips from other movies, including most of Kubrick's filmography, along with animated sequences that illustrate things like the wacky floorplan of The Shining's Overlook Hotel, which Kubrick clearly used to disorient audiences. Some of these theories are hilarious, such as clips that supposedly demonstrate Kubrick's glee at subverting Stephen King's source novel. And then there's the detailed theory that the film's pivotal Room 237 proves how Kubrick faked the Apollo 11 moon landing on a soundstage. (Well, the moon is 237,000 miles from earth.)

Many of these ideas actually say more about Kubrick's style of filmmaking than anything else, such as an experiment in which the film is overlaid with itself playing forwards and backwards. And in the end, we get the feeling that you could find something hidden in The Shining that would prove almost anything imaginable. Cinema lovers will certainly enjoy the chance to explore repeating images and themes throughout Kubrick's work. And the opportunity to dig into such an iconic film in enjoyably offbeat ways.

Rich Cline


Room 237

Facts and Figures

Genre: Documentaries

Run time: 102 mins

In Theaters: Friday 26th October 2012

Box Office USA: $0.3M

Distributed by: IFC Films

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 3.5 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 93%
Fresh: 113 Rotten: 8

IMDB: 6.3 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director: Rodney Ascher

Producer: Tim Kirk

Starring: Bill Blakemore as Himself, Geoffrey Cocks as Himself, Juli Kearns as Herself, John Fell Ryan as Himself, Jay Weidner as Himself, Buffy Visick as VHS enthusiast

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