Directed by LA filmmaker Rodney Ascher, Room 237 is a subjective documentary that explores the numerous theories about the hidden meanings within Stanley Kubrick‘s film, The Shining. Giving voice to the fans and scholars of a film that continues to inspire debate, speculation, and mystery, even 30 years after its release, the documentary looks at five very different points of view and far-reaching theories from those who have decoded the apparent hidden symbols and messages buried in Kubrick’s classic. Cut into nine segments, each segment focuses on different elements within the film which “may reveal hidden clues and hint at a bigger thematic oeuvre.”
Featured at the 2012 Sundance, Cannes and Toronto film festivals, if you like The Shining (who doesn’t?) this is a bit of a must watch. We all have our own interpretations of the film but these are some of the biggest theories out there, some of which are believable, others which are bordering on ridiculous.
Despite what you think about any of the theories individually, they’re all interesting and well detailed. It’s the great thing about film, though, as everybody sees film differently. And who’s to say they’re wrong? Asserting that The Shining is evidential proof that Kubrick staged the moon landing does go a little too far, but the documentary brings Kubrick’s filmography together well to explore a number of things he may or may not be secretly doing.
The documentary itself, however, is slightly poor, it was more like a Microsoft Powerpoint than an actual film. Not seeing any of the interviewees themselves means that it’s hard to tell some of the voices apart, and it could have been edited a lot better to skip out their personal lives (who needs to hear a man go to stop his kid from crying?). Seeing the interviewees would have also meant that the use of certain clips from the film wouldn’t have become as repetitive, although they were well-used for the best part of it. It is a bad-looking documentary, but the research is obviously there so it’s still very watchable.
Room 237 was released on DVD on 1st April.