Room 237 Reviews
The subject of Room 237 is not The Shining or even those who love it. The subject of this film is the often obsessive psychological response stirred within a culture by one artist or one specific work by the artists. The Shining has formed more than a cult following, in may ways it has formed a Cultural Cult in which people seem to devote a significant amount of their lives trying to deconstruct the movie shot by shot in hopes of finding hidden meaning and hidden cinematic clues that they feel Kubrick left behind.
While this documentary is a just a bit too long, it is a humorous and baffling documentary. It never takes a malicious aim at the individuals who have attached to Kubrick's 1980 film. Some of their cinematic sleuthing feels like it could bear some merit and at other times it feels like these fans
It might not fit into out ideas of cinematic study, but Room 237 hold your attention and is an interesting glimpse into cinematic obsession
With his next movie "The Shining," those same background details would end up tripping up any number of over-attentive viewers. This phenomenon is explored in the documentary "Room 237" which also serves as a cautionary tale about seeing a movie at least 50 times.
Whereas the viewers interviewed provide occasionally valid insights, especially along the lines of the Overlook Hotel actually being alive, there are other theories that are to be polite just out there.
Take for instance the one who saw "The Shining" as proof that Kubrick faked the moon landing, mostly in a random sweater and cans of Tang. Actually, he kind of hedges his bets when he says that we probably did reach the moon but that is not the real footage. In any case, I did not watch the bonus footage of "Room 237" on the DVD, so alas I don't know if he ever got audited by the IRS.
And then there is numerology which is shaky at the best of times, which in this case involves the number 42.(2 X 3 X 7 = 42) Admittedly, that is also the answer to the ultimate question of life, the universe and everything in 'The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy' which was first produced two years before "The Shining" was released. Or maybe Kubrick was just a huge Jackie Robinson fan.
That being said, I found it interesting. It made me think about the thin line between fan and fanatic. I would totally do things like superimpose a movie on itself backwards- I just wouldn't go ascribing secret meanings. But really, how do you validate or invalidate interpretation of artistic works? Film is so heavily symbolic. I have movies that I am 100% sure in my interpretation and the directorial intent (Miike's Audition... cough cough) but other people wouldn't agree- how different is my conviction from that of these crazies?
Seems like most reviews criticize the choice not to show the interviewees. I actually appreciate that because I feel like showing them would have made the individuals more of a focus and it would have been like "oh, look at these kooks". The disembodied voices let you just think about the nature of film obsession.
Watched at home on Netflix with Josh, April 10, 2015.