Room 237 ( Rodney Ascher, 2012): USA
Reviewed by Lorena Alvarez. Viewed at the AFI Fest 2012
Room 237 is an entertaining and interesting piece of film that was actually a compilation of several moving picture, mainly Kubrick films, focusing on The Shining, based on a novel by Stephen King. The concept of using footage from The Shining and other Kubrick films, along with discussions by an amount of Kubrick fanatics, makes it a fresh idea in the world of cinema. If you are into mystery and Stanley Kubrick, this film is definitely for you.
The documentary starts with Tom Cruise in shocked outside some theater, watching something that creates an impact on him. Consecutively, there is a graphic match on what he is seeing, a poster of The Shining (the scene was taken from Eyes Wide Shut), of course they modified some details, such as the poster matching with the interviewee reaction, the first time he saw this cult film. This is the whole concept of Room 237.
The film includes nine segments, with each segment focusing on different symbols within the film. Symbols that are not coincidences, because Kubrick is also noted for being a perfectionist, and no object appears in any frame by accident. The secret messages are related with genocide and government conspiracy, fusing fact and fiction through interviews. There is only audio from the interviewees, no visuals. The filmmaker decided to use other film segments to illustrate what the analysts say, the opinions and the views that are expressed do not reflect thoughts of Stanley Kubrick on The Shining.
To conclude, it is an interesting option for those who know the subject, but boring for those who do not. In my opinion it was not made for commercial purposes, but for analysis and reflection. I was interested in the film before I’d seen it, and it only served to increase my interest. Room 237 makes you want to go and watch The Shining again.