Room 237

Room 237 (Rodney Ascher, 2012)

An exploration of various interpretations of Stanley Kubrick's horror film, The Shining (1980).

Dedicated to the many possible meanings of Stanley Kubrick’s masterpiece The Shining, Room 237 is narrated by many fans, enthusiasts of the film and its director. At first, the most important fact about Room 237 is that it demonstrates how much people actually love and cherish this movie. Even I can’t hide my enthusiasm and cult towards The Shining. It is my favorite film from my favorite director of all time and each new viewing is an experience that is almost religious for the atheist that I am.

With this documentary I realized first that I am not the only one to vow such a cult to this movie, and that many people are interepreting films and analyzing so many elements that the movie itself gets forgotten. Sure, Kubrick was one heck of a wizard with his obsessive control over his films and perfectionism of every detail. When interpreting a movie, every theorie is as worth as the other. It is interesting to discover some of the most out of there and other more consensual visions of The Shining. It leads us to many things to think about : much like an artist less we know about the original meanings of its creator there is more to discover; it is impossible to have only one reading of a dense work of art; is the Calumet can there on purpose or not, is it true that Kubrick directed the landing on the moon, do we tend to give too much credit to Kubrick and his films and should watch them for their first level of reading.

Well, as aforementioned, every theory is as worth as the other and when a movie is celebratred by critics and the public it is recognized as worthy. But suppose that Citizen Kane was never revisited and completely forgotten maybe it wouldn’t be the masterpiece we know today just because it was at first hated and almost destroyed by the industry. Let’s think about this, for Kubrick’s The Shining its initial released was received with mixed reviews, except the fact that Kubrick was already established as a cult director, it could have been the death of the value of it. However, time and revisits, many revisits, led the film to be recognized as technically, esthetically, and thematically important in the history of films and in Kubrick’s filmography.

It is a playful documentary that has the merit to making its viewer wanting to watch again its subject. However, the exercice seems to loose its breath near its end and it probably would need a book to accompany this film essay. By the way, I would buy such a book.

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