Room 237 Reviews
Firstly, whilst there is a surprising amount of depth to this film that goes beyond 'The Shining', it is still a movie that is pretty much always taking about 'The Shining'. As a result, I certainly don't recommend it to anyone who hasn't seen the film and those who have but didn't enjoy it may also want to give that a miss (though liking the film isn't a prerequisite to enjoying this one, I suppose).
We've all at some point I'm sure had the feeling that we're over-analysing something and many of us have also probably flirted with the odd conspiracy theory here and there. Take these two notions to their extremes (and have them revolve around 'The Shining', of course) and suddenly you have a remarkably interesting and bewildering look at the human mind. The movie flows between what feels like sound analysis to full-on 'how on Earth did we end up here?' interpretations until you start to forget which is supposed to be which.
Not only does this give fans of the film plenty to latch on to and ponder but it also gives us plenty to roll our eyes at. However, every step of it is entertaining and as we're simply talking about a film, it all feels rather harmless.
Indeed, I think there's something beautiful about 'Room 237'- the pattern-forming nature of the human mind, our willingness to immerse ourselves in things that we enjoy, and just an oddness that feels sweet. Many 'unorthodox' opinions revolve around big catastrophes and political events and whist 'Room 237' certainly involves one of the classics (the moon landing, of course) it's still ultimately just about 'The Shining'. It's hard to really care if someone's interpretation is completely outwith the norm because, hey, it's a movie, why can't they see what they want to see in it?
'Room 237' is a beautiful little film (by the way, it also reveals who REALLY killed JFK if you watch it upside down and in greyscale).
Definitely not for everyone but I loved it
That Kubrick's work spawns so many theories is a testament to the greatness of the man and his work. To be sure, there are some fascinating aspects to his career, and the symbolism of many of his films seems to be undeniable. Some of the theories regarding what Stanley was trying to convey are quite compelling, and I was hoping for a thoughtful exploration of these theories.
What Room 237 does, however, is really present more of a mash up of theories. We never see the interviewee's faces; we are simply given their narration against film rolls of Kubrick's different films. There are too many voices and too little delineation between them. Trains of thought wonder and never seem to be honed in. There's interesting things said, but little exploration of it. Points are never contrasted, and instead the viewer is left to try and sort this all out themselves.
Dull analysis is mixed in with rather fascinating analysis, such as Kubrick's alleged collaboration in regards to the moon landing. Instead of capitalizing on this and providing opposing viewpoints, and perhaps challenging some of the points presented, the film simply goes on to the next talking-head, with no real sense of direction. This leads to a frustrating and inaccessible experience, we want to learn, but instead become bored and disinterested.
Simply put, it's a documentary without a rudder.