Room 237 movie poster

DOC REVIEW: Room 237 (2012)

Room 237 or Stanley Kubrick's Shining Vision of the US?

By Woofer McWooferson

Writer and Director: Rodney Ascher; Stars: Bill Blakemore, Geoffrey Cocks, Juli Kearns, John Fell Ryan, Jay Weidner; Rating: NR; Run Time: 102 min; Genre: Documentary; Country: UK; Language: English; Year: 2012

Room 237 begins with a lengthy disclaimer about the expressed opinions not being those of the filmmakers, and it's not difficult to see why this disclaimer was added. Stanley Kubrick was a master filmmaker, a director whose every scene is packed with clues and symbols that may not be evident on a first or fifth viewing. This documentary examines possible interpretations of many aspects of Kubrick's adaptation of The Shining, a masterful examination of life and death, the natural and supernatural, the real and unreal, penned by the king of horror Stephen King. Because there are multiple interpretations presented, Room 237 seems, at times, haphazardly put together. We move back and forth through The Shining as each theory addresses various aspects of the film that supports that specific interpretation.

Room 237 feels stilted and sometimes forced, but the overall documentary is an interesting examination of Kubrick's reinvisioning of The Shining as well as the minds of the participants. Indeed, we cannot help but bring our own experiences into our interpretations, but the key is to remember that we must look at the larger picture – something some of these critics seem to neglect. Theories range from the plausible to the confusing and finally to the downright comical. Since Kubrick's films are layered with detail and significance, not all theories can be dismissed, but how can we tell which is right? Kubrick may have included aspects of all of these theories, but I'm not entirely convinced. It will take many more viewings for me to weigh in on those.

5/10 claws – the pace is uneven, but it is worth at least one viewing

Posted by Alan Smithee

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