Strange. Twisted. Bizarre. Odd. Any and every one of these terms are perfectly fitting for the new documentary Room 237. The documentary, which focuses on director Stanley Kubrick’s vision of author Stephen King’s novel by the same name, has been met with relatively mixed reviews. Most of those reviews have been anything but positive. It’s easy to see just why the reactions to Room 237 would be so negative. Those that share their thoughts throughout the near two hour documentary echo the idea that Kubrick’s idea not just with The Shining but with the likes of 2001: A Space Odyssey was to make audiences think. And just as those movies make audiences think, so does this latest release from IFC Films Midnight. Yes, the ideas presented here are about as out there as those presented on History Channel’s Ancient Aliens, but in the bigger picture of things, that’s not necessarily a bad thing. In fact, as out there as they might be, they really help to illustrate Kubrick’s brilliance.
Those that are familiar with Stephen King’s books (and the movies based on his books) know just how much distaste King had for Kubrick’s take on his book. But in Kubrick’s defense, his adaptation of King’s book stood quite well on its own two feet even as its own work. It stood so well that some three decades plus after its debut, conspiracy theories continue to abound over its imagery. That is where Room 237 comes into play. Fair warning to those that take the time to sit down and watch this documentary, the conspiracy theories that are bandied about throughout this program are pretty out there to say the least. There are theories about the imagery in The Shining hiding secret holding meaning about the genocide of different groups. There are crackpot theories centered on mythology, numerology and somehow even the supposed faking of the moon landing. Yes, somehow, someone even found time to link The Shining to the conspiracy theory about whether or not the moon landing even happened. These people obviously had far too much time on their hands. But that’s beside the point. In defense of the faceless conspiracy theorists, they do manage to defend their arguments, as wild as they may be. That much can be said of them even if their theories are completely out there.
The theories thrown around throughout the course of Room 237 are definitely as out there as conspiracy theories can be. This is the case even for theories brought about from a movie. But the very fact that so many theories have been dreamed up makes an even bolder statement that audiences should consider. It makes the statement that Stanley Kubrick really was the genius that everyone said he was behind the camera. Even though he is no longer with us, it shows why he is still the respected individual today that he was today. Not many directors have an eye like he did for details. For that matter, few directors could generate so much discussion to this day. Did Kubrick really intend for people to find everything that they have found? Did he really have some hidden agenda in moving a chair or a sticker of one of the seven dwarves? And really, did he intend to send a message about Jack being sexually confused? What? It’s all in Room 237. Regardless of what one believes, the fact that Kubrick could lead so many people to come up with such wild ideas makes this a documentary entirely worth watching at least once. It is available now on DVD and Blu-ray from MPI Home Video and IFC Films. It can be ordered online via Amazon at http://www.amazon.com/Room-237-Blu-ray-Bill-Blakemore/dp/B00D6I7CSQ/ref=sr_1_3?s=movies-tv&ie=UTF8&qid=1380408584&sr=1-3&keywords=room+237.
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