A lot of great buzz has been building around Room 237, which has shown at various festivals this year, and which has been picked up for release by IFC. Rodney Ascher’s documentary examines the phenomenon of people who have constructed mad theories “explaining” the supposed secrets coded by Stanley Kubrick into The Shining. One man is sure that the film contains a confession from Kubrick that he directed the fake Moon landing. Another believes that the whole thing is a metaphor for the plight of Native Americans.
It’s not unusual at all for a, um, “certain kind” of person to read things into movies that may or may not have any support in the text, but Kubrick’s work in particular seems to be subject to all kinds of wild interpretations. Of course, he invited this, in a way, by directing such ambiguous work with such a deliberate hand. While “people obsessed with The Shining” might not sound like the most scintillating subject, great documentaries have been made about seemingly less interesting things.
The trailer for the movie feels more like a teaser. There’s no footage, and the soundtrack has nothing but vague snippets of theories that the film explores. It’s very different for a doc, and it doesn’t really do much to get me excited for it, but it’s certainly atmospheric. Check it out below.