Room 237 – review

Alongside the recent re-release of Stanley Kubrick’s 1980 classic The Shining, Rodney Ascher has released a documentary exploring the theories of five Kubrick enthusiasts.

In Room 237, he uses a masterfully interwoven series of clips from Kubrick’s films, as we are taken on an investigation into the chilling world of the Torrences’ stay at the Overlook Hotel.

Ascher presents five obsessive commentators who discuss the apparent discoveries to be found in the chilling realms of The Shining, with most of the theories giving rise to interesting and fascinating ideas.

Where the casual viewer is likely to dismiss the Apollo 11 design on Danny’s jumper, these people see this as Kubrick’s confession of his involvement with the “faking” of the moon landing. The director feeds the audience with more suspicious speculations, such as one woman’s strange obsession with the window in Stuart Ullman’s office, and a claim that Kubrick’s face can be seen in the sky.

There is clearly a sense of intelligent wit in Room 237, which Ascher intends to use to reach out to the audience as they absorb such questionable theories. Many of the concepts and notions explored do, however, pose a sense of credibility and are particularly thought-provoking, including the film’s association with the Native American genocide.

The visual presentation of the film is particularly impressive. Ascher’s style is captivating as his interlaced clips create a visual flair to complement the critical commentary. He delves into the world of The Shining by using title-cards in the true style of the film, and uses close attention to detail which embodies the undeniable fastidiousness in Kubrick’s work.

Room 237 provides an exceptional way of viewing The Shining and is one which will stay with its audience for a long time.


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September 2021
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