Recently on Netflix I was able to catch the film Room 237. Room 237 is a critically acclaimed documentary about Stanley Kubrick’s 1980 film The Shining, and all the clever things Kubrick may have hidden inside. Kubrick was known for putting hidden themes or messages in his films, and the people interviewed in this documentary think they have The Shining finally figured out.
Room: 237 is so blandly set up and executed I feel it somewhat insulting to even calling it a documentary. The film is basically just a compilation of people sharing their ideas of what they interpret The Shining as. We cut from person to person talking over footage of The Shining. That’s it. Many documentaries put in tons and tons of work to make what they are showing the audience visually interesting and different. Room: 237, frankly, takes the lazy man route. At one point you can here one of the interviewee’s children crying and screaming in the background. Couldn’t you try recording the audio one more time guy? It’s pretty pathetic to include that in the final cut.
Now Room:237 definitely has its moments of food for thought clever ideas. However the majority of the documentary is just crackpot people sharing crackpot ideas about The Shining. So many of these ideas are so outrageously crazy and stupid that Jesse Ventura would call them nuts.
Many of the thoughts expressed in Room:237 are purely and blatantly fictional, like how Stanley Kubrick had an IQ of over 200 (FYI, he did not). You’d think there would be some kind of filter for what they’d include and exclude, but even the most ridiculous ideas made it in the final cut.
If you like conspiracy theories surrounding films,than perhaps you will enjoy watching Room: 237. I for one thought this to be one of the worst documentaries I have ever seen. It boggles my mind to think that this “documentary” was loved by so many critics. The execution is very obviously lazy, and (I can’t stress this enough) the ideas are so stupid and far fetched that I found most of it painful to watch. From now on I think I’ll go ahead and stick to my own beliefs on what The Shining is really all about.
The Verdict: D-