I have just attended a screening of Room 237 which is a documentary directed by Rodney Ascher about the underlying themes and meanings of Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining, or should I say perceived themes and underlying meanings. It is a fascinating film that uses narration over the top of images from other Kubrick movies to punctuate the ideas that a variety of people have as to the meanings hidden within Kubrick's masterpiece. There are also excerpts from a diverse collection of movies; Shindler's List, All the Presidents Men, An American Werewolf in London and Capricorn one, to name a few that are woven into the narrative.
What we hear are a number of theories as to the subtext of the movie that range from the genocide of the Native Americans to The Holocaust and Hitler's machinations through to hidden symbolism relating to the faking of the moon landing of Apollo 11. There are hypothesis regarding the use of the numbers 42 and 7, the significance of Eagles within the movie and there are examinations as to virtually every aspect of the set the camerawork and the staging.What is apparent from all these diverse ideas is that Kubrick has created a movie that is full of continuity flaws; missing chairs, Dopey from the seven dwarves vanishing and impossible changes to carpets and architecture along with other intricate visual codes; these are perhaps the things that subliminally add to the feeling of fear and anxiety that permeates The Shining.
Room 237 is an entertaining examination of a movie made by an obsessive and how the obsessive viewer of that movie has found depths and intrigue within. Some of the concepts presented by those viewers are enlightening some bizarre and some laugh out loud funny (the hidden erection scene springs to mind), but all are delivered with the same degree of sincerity.
A great movie for Shining fans, Kubrick fans and movie fans in general.