Editor’s Notes: Room 237 is now out on Blu-ray and DVD. Special Features include 11 Deleted Scenes and ‘Secrets of The Shining: Panel Discussion from the First Annual Stanley Film Festival’.
Ever had small side thoughts about finer details while watching a film? Then this is exactly the type of documentary you’ll enjoy. Stanley Kubrick’s iconic thriller The Shining gets a reworking by five theorists in Room 237. What develops as an incredibly interesting documentary that in five parts, presents five separate theories on the greater meanings of The Shining and the film’s contents.
Each of the five parts of Room 237 give an in depth account of each theory, presented in interview format by each theorist, in lovingly constructed digestible time allocations. Given the running time of the feature documentary, each section is well scripted and edited accounts of the theory being proposed. This becomes very clear once each theorist in interview gets well into the swing of presenting their key ideologies. There is the overarching impression that some theorists could easily talk for a whole feature film length. Others start with a bold statement that warns of precursor to being hindered by an awareness of time allocation for their account. Knowing academic focus and creative controls as paramount to the presentation of intelligently researched theories, the seeming awareness of time allocations harks towards a decent head on the shoulders of writer and director Rodney Ascher.
Each of the five parts of Room 237 give an in depth account of each theory, presented in interview format by each theorist, in lovingly constructed digestible time allocations.
The suggestion here is that Ascher has at length explored the research of each theory and understands exactly what he should gain from each interview. This is nothing but a positive thing in my opinion, as it only bears thinking about how many hours longer the feature could have been. Either that, or programmed as a series wherein each episode takes a different theory, and thus not having much of a market. It’s best off as a documentary feature, well edited as this project is, and no offense to theorists. I can’t help but think anything else would be less of an enjoyable viewing experience. Naturally it seems that there was an avenue for hefty editing in post production considering the content. Old images of reels and reels unfolding in huge piles in a tiny box editing room spring to mind here, as romantically stress filled that sounds. This situation has been inevitably avoided by better interviewing techniques and director – theorist relationships. Good communication comes into play with a decisive style of filmmaking and collaboration efforts, expertly crafted to give a cumulative result of interview content.
The number 237 is a reoccurring mention in Stephen King’s novels, so in a way the title of the film cleverly hints towards it’s won self-reflexive purpose.
The beauty of Room 237 is that everyone has at some point begun to wonder what it all really means. Whether it’s something of detailed interest like why the costume department decided on that colour of hat, or something as fleetingly arbitrary as having visited that landmark also. Each theme tackled by the theorist is made fascinating by their confidence in approaching their justified explanation. Aided by well timed visuals and the development of reasoning behind the theory, each is presented in a consumable way. Like one of those compacted little film guides you sometimes get for benchmark films that have achieved an industry spectacular result or audience response. Actively encouraging viewers’ thoughts towards questioning the information divulged, not every theory makes perfect sense, but you can believe the depth of issue importance.
There is little attention or time spent on dissecting the work of the original novel of the same name. This is the key to the films narrowed and specific contents which reside in the film’s visuals and cinematography matters. The number 237 is a reoccurring mention in Stephen King’s novels, so in a way the title of the film cleverly hints towards it’s won self-reflexive purpose. The aim is to intrigue viewers about the minor details within the film that lead to complex thought processes. These initial basic flickers of fancy can be moulded into creating a pretty impossible labyrinth of ideas and theories that wind in, around and through themselves. A baffling web of possibilities pronounced with clarity and vision that gives them life. To think that each idea is like the number 237 in relation to The Shining novel author’s offbeat inclusion of a simple numerical preference is pretty accurate in the relevance of each theory to the entertainment value of The Shining.
The important thing to take away from Room 237 is that there is the promise of a platform where creative ideology can be processed for entertainment purposes. Similar to the podcast and video film review culture of the internet, Room 237 offers a flux of creativity and hope for discursive interviewing techniques.
[notification type=”star”]60/100 ~ OKAY. The important thing to take away from Room 237 is that there is the promise of a platform where creative ideology can be processed for entertainment purposes. Similar to the podcast and video film review culture of the internet, Room 237 offers a flux of creativity and hope for discursive interviewing techniques.[/notification]