Anyone who is a fanatic of...well anything can take great delight in dissecting for hours on end. No matter who ridiculous the notions or concepts as long as people are making a good argument the simple joy of it all is in the listening. With the new film "Room 237" we get the art of the discussion in a subjective documentary that tries to dissect the hidden meanings in Stanley Kubrick's "The Shining".
A documentary that explores the numerous theories about the hidden meanings within Stanley Kubrick's The Shining which continues to inspire debate, speculation, and mystery more than thirty years after its release. Using voice over, film clips, animation and dramatic re-enactments, Room 237 investigates five very different points of view drawing the audience into a new maze, one with many ways in, but no way out.
Truly a love letter, to the act of repeating viewings of films and how so much can be dissected and learned from these films on multiple viewings. While some of the crackpot theories that are on display here in "Room 237" are just that, this is truly a film that is less about the theories no matter how compelling or outlandish they might be and more about the well thought out and meticulously crafted arguments that are equal parts compelling and cuckoo. Going deep into the art of filmmaking and truly delving in to the artistic intent of the filmmaker, whether things and images they put up on screen were subconscious or not is something that is fascinating for any hardcore fan. Director Rodney Ascher successfully keeps us on the edge of our seats as his subjects lay out their various theories on the film. With theories ranging from the film being an allegory for the genocide of the Native American's or the Holocaust while others view it as his subliminal apology for helping the American government stage the Apollo 11 moon landing, we as an audience don't have to believe but as Ascher keeps his subjects off camera while they are laying out their theories with visuals from the film to back it up, we can see that perhaps there is a little bit of method to the madness that people have been seeing all these years.
Special features on this 2 disc DVD set include a feature length commentary track with Kevin 'Mstrmnd' McLeod, Secrets of "The Shining": Panel Discussion from the First Annual Stanley Film Festival, 11 Deleted Scenes, a featurette looking at the making of the music of "Room 237", a look at the unique poster design with artist Aled Lewis, the trailer along with some alternate trailers.
You can focus on the theories and how they are constructed if you like, but the true magic in this film is in the complete and utter deconstruction of the film, and how it can be gloriously entertaining. "Room 237" is simply a film for film lovers. This is an experience that hard core movie fans will adore and possibly convert some casual fans making them hungry for more. It is truly the first cinematic experience to gleefully take its audience head first down the rabbit hole with a smile on their faces as it encapsulates perfectly one of the things I truly love about the art form of movie making, because on those truly special films, it is the repeat viewings where things just keep getting better and better. I for one can't wait to keep watching "Room 237" again and again for years to come.
5 out of 5 stars.