REVIEW: Room 237


Room 237
Directed by: Rodney Ascher
Starring: Bill Blakemore, Geoffrey Cocks, Juli Kearns and John Fell Ryan

There are no talking heads in Room 237, at least not in the traditional documentary sense. Using footage from the movies, mostly Stanley Kubrick ones and mostly scenes from The Shining, Rodney Ascher creates an obsessive, absurd paean to the movies.  He weaves together five intensely different theories about Kubrick’s 1980 horror staple, all of them bizarre sometimes to the point of ridiculousness.

We are given the names of these people at the beginning of the movie when they each speak for the first time, and then we don’t see them again until the credits.  Ascher rotates between their explanations of what is really going on inside The Shining with the slyness if not the total condescension of a reality show host.  One man believes there are hidden messages about the genocide of Native Americans, another sees a heavily layered Holocaust subtext.  By far the most bizarre of these theories, though, is that of Jay Weidner, who believes that The Shining is Kubrick’s confession to helping the U.S. government fake the Apollo 11 Moon landing.

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