Room 237 (2013)
Most movie fans are familiar with the Stanley Kubrick film The Shining, based on the Stephen King novel of the same name; and many consider it to be one of the greatest horror movies of all time. What you may not know is that there is a small percentage of the population who believe that this movie is more than just a movie, and is filled with a much deeper message. There are nine different theories explored in this documentary, and they are as diverse as the enthusiasts who present them. Some of the theories presented are out there… like, way out there; and all are based in visual clues, some of which only appear for a few seconds in one scene. Here are some examples:
Throughout the Overlook Hotel there are pictures of Indians, so therefore this movie is about the plight of the Native Americans.
There is a prominent maze in this movie, which doesn’t appear in the book, so this must be Kubrick’s homage to the Greek myth of Theseus and the Minotaur.
There are several scenes with people walking, writing or speaking backwards, so that can only mean that you have to watch the movie backwards. This leads to a new interpretation of the movie.
Danny is wearing an Apollo 11 sweater at one point, so this can only mean that this is Kubrick’s way to tell the world that he filmed the faked moon landing.
Finally, the number 42 seems to be pretty predominant throughout the film. According to one person, this refers to 1942, the years the Nazis began the holocaust. So… there is that too.
Alex’s Thoughts: I love The Shining. Love it. There is all sorts of symbolism in this thing, and I’m sure there are still things that I have not picked up on yet. But personally, I can’t come up with a single running theme in this movie, as there is just too much crazy going on. I know Stanley Kubrick was a certified genius, so I’m sure this movie is about something, and there are probably specific reasons he diverged from King’s book, but I can’t quite nail them down. I guess that is the sign of a good movie, in that it keeps you thinking about it, even thirty years after its release. As a documentary goes, this is by far the best out there, but if you like The Shining, Room 237 will hold your attention and make to want to watch the source material again! And as far as the theories, based on that fact that I am writing this, I can’t really judge other peoples opinions. Alex Rates This Movie 6/10
Tim’s Thoughts: The Shining is an iconic film, obviously, and there is a ton of bizarre imagery throughout the entire film, and yes, Kubrick was such a control freak that it’s hard to take any of it as coincidence. That being said, this film, while entertaining gives too much credence to too many theories. It’s more interesting to focus on one or two. Instead we range from a few credible ideas, all the way to the most ridiculous theories you can imagine. The director undercuts the entire film with one line that I will paraphrase: It doesn’t matter if Kubrick meant for this movie to mean anything, people are going to attach their own ideas, and meanings. To me that instantly cheapens all of the ideas for what this movie could possibly stand for. With that rationale I could insist that this is Kubrick’s elaborate and desperate attempt to get his wife to make him 42 ice cream sandwiches. After all, 42 is predominately featured, and Halloran did offer Danny ice cream. It’s that silly. All of those gripes aside, I enjoyed most of this, and I think that fans of Kubrick, or the Shining should check it out. Just be ready to sift through the nutjobs. Tim Rates This Movie 7/10
View the IMDB entry for this movie here.