When you hear the description of Room 237, you may very well be on the back foot, making your way for the door. The focus of Room 237 is the alleged hidden meanings within Stanley Kubrick’s film adaptation of The Shining. The prospect of such a film is not as mind boggling as you might think.
Director Rodney Ascher has not taken the easy route and selected psychologists and film experts, instead or at least it seems that he has selected fans of the movie who have their own interpretations of what Kubrick was trying to tell his audience back in 1980.
While some of the definitions in the movie seem incredibly plausible, some are just downright ridiculous; one such definition includes a sexual reference in which the analyst claims that a letter tray turns into an erection. Another concern is the amount of time and thought put into developing a map of the Overlook hotel, in order to prove the point that the hotels internal structure is impossible.
As Room 237 unravels you are hit with a combination of hilarity, and almost disgust. Each aspect that has plausibility is met with something utterly preposterous. Ascher has done a remarkable job of providing balance, making sure that every now and again you are thrown something that makes you really question if Kubrick was in actual fact using the movie to get out a personal agenda.
Room 237 is a really enjoyable movie, sadly however it is weakened by intercut footage of movies that are in no way liked to Kubrick or The Shining, such as Lamberto Bava’s Demons. There is a distinct lack of personality to the movie, in that never once do you see the face of the people who are bestowing their knowledge upon you, and it would be rather nice to put faces to the vocals.
Stanley Kubrick was known worldwide as a genius, it would be wonderful to know if any of the more plausible explanations explained in this documentary are true, and this is the strength of the documentary, for it’s an answer we will probably never know.