Room 237 (2012)

room 237 poster 2012 movie
5.0 Overall Score

Interesting attempt to explore film analysis

Hard to watch due to repetitive nature of film

Movie Info

Movie Name:  Room 237

Studio:  IFC Films

Genre(s):  Documentary

Release Date(s):  January 23, 2012 (Sundance)

MPAA Rating:  Not Rated

room-237-hexagon-carpet-the-shining-danny

Danny…you don’t know how deep your even getting here…

The Shining was released on May 23, 1980 by Stanley Kubrick.  The movie was an adaptation of Stephen King’s 1977 novel and both the novel and the film are considered classics.  Here, a number of film analysts explores what The Shining really means…and if you have seen The Shining, you might be shocked by what you missed!

Directed by Tim Kirk, Room 237 is a documentary about Kubrick’s The Shining and is composed of clips with voice-over interviews.  The movie made the festival tour and received modest reviews.

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The twins are Wendy’s perfect dream for happiness for Danny

I love The Shining and quite familiar with the book and film.  With some strange decisions, Room 237 is a movie you should see if you are a student of literature or film and have read multiple analyses.

The movie is tough to watch in that the movie is full of pompous movie analysts that all believe they are right.  The theories range from that the movie is related to Hitler, Native American genocide, and a big joke by Kubrick.  One of my favorite analysis is that the movie is proof that Kubrick was one of the directors behind the faking of the Apollo moon landing (which he auditioned for with 2001, A Space Odyssey).

room-237-kubrick-faked-moon-landing-footage-miles-to-the-moon

So it was named Room 237 because that is the distance to the moon and Kubrick helped fake moon landing video

It is important to draw a line between film analysis and film reviewing.  Reviewing is like analyzing-lite, and looks at the quality of the presentation.  The people in the film aren’t passing judgment on the film (generally they all say it isn’t a good film, but they watched it over & over again).  Here, the movie is dissected for meaning rather than the quality.

With all these overlapping views, the viewer comes to see that the story is so subjective….much like many literary reviews.  If you can argue your point, does it become true?  Can a movie mean something different than the director intended to mean?  If the director didn’t intend it, does it mean it isn’t true?  These questions are asked in the film indirectly and it reminds me of Vladimir Nabokov’s Pale Fire which featured a poem and the footnotes to the poem where a man places meaning into the poem that isn’t there.

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What did Kubrick know and what was he trying to say?!?!

The problems with Room 237 (other than it is hard to listen to the people), is how the movie is put together.  Unlike a standard documentary, there are no talking heads.  All footage is film footage from The Shining, other Kubrick pictures, and other films.  The clips are used and reused over and over again.  It is an interesting review, but it doesn’t always make for good viewing.

Room 237 kind of puts egg in the face of film criticism and criticism of any sort by pointing out the ridiculous nature of the craft.  I like the idea of looking at criticism in and pointing out these inconsistencies and how films can have more than one meaning, but I wish that Room 237 had found a better way to do it.

Related Links:

The Shining (1980)

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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