Room 237 Review
By Mike Holtz, WeWatchedAMovie
Directed By: Rodney Ascher (The S From Hell)
I mean, I like to pick apart movies as much as anyone else but damn…
Room 237 features a handful of people obsessed with Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining and focuses on their extreme ideas, theories and obsessions behind the classic horror film. As the five film lover’s go into depth over each and every hidden detail or meaning behind the film, images from The Shining are shown to support or explain their theories ranging from the interesting to the downright ludicrous.
The one thing Room 237 succeeds in beyond all else is in making you want to watch The Shining again as soon as possible. I couldn’t wait to pop in my blu-ray copy and test the new-found theories proclaimed so sternly from the narrators of Room 237 after watching constant clips from classic moments of the film. There are definite moments of cool such as when one narrator explains that the wreckage we see of a red Volkswagen in The Shining is a direct message to the author of the novel (Stephen King) that Kubrick has taken over. (In King’s book the family drives a red Volkswagen In the film however the family drives a yellow Volkswagen and at one point you see the red vehicle crushed by a semi-truck on the side of the road). Easter eggs like this are great for movie fans, giving us instant reason to re-watch an already classic film.
For the more hardcore crowd out there, Room 237 has more than enough material to keep you re-watching The Shining on loop for the next week, picking apart every scene in slow motion, taking notes and making pie charts if you for some strange reason have the desire and time to do so. It seems at times like this is what it would take to understand what some of these people are talking about. One narrator believes The Shining is Kubrick’s way of commenting on the genocide of Native Americans. Another believes it was the Holocaust being picked apart as Kubrick had always wanted to make a film about the subject but found engaging the direct material too depressing.
Even in it’s most absurd moments however, Room 237 still manages to find at-least one cool conspiracy discussing the idea that Kubrick helped the Government fake the famous film of Apollo 11 landing on the Moon using the sets of 2001: A Space Odyssey and that certain moments of The Shining were his way of admitting this and telling the story of the trials and tribulations he faced in doing so. For as crazy as this sounds Room 237 makes a surprisingly good argument. Although I wouldn’t go as far as to call myself a believer, it does make for a fun discussion and re-invigorates the film right as the dialogue was starting to feel repetitive and dry.
Room 237 also has it’s fair share of laughable moments. Moments that make you feel like you are talking to Jim Carrey in the sequel to The Number 23 as a narrator goes through insane lengths to make every number add up to 42 to support his Holocaust theory ( 1942 was the year of the Wannsee Conference where Nazi’s had planned the “Final Solution”) or when one guy points out that the wrinkle in Jack Nicholson’s angry forehead resembles Hitler’s mustache. Regardless of how far it reaches however, it’s a must see film for any fan of The Shining and a like-able film for any fan of in-depth movie discussion. Even if the discussion goes on a bit too long and reaches a bit too far, I’m glad they shared it with us.