This highly compelling and detailed documentary focuses on the many theories and ideas that have been raised about Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining since its release in 1980. Directed by Rodney Ascher, the film works as a gloriously obsessive investigation into both the film and the theories that surround it.
It’s assembled with subtlety and care whilst still retaining a sense of feverish excitement. It feels like we are watching LP collectors rush into a newly discovered second-hand shop of rare and valuable releases. We hear various people state their case on the film – ranging from war reporters to musicians – and explain why they think it supports their theories on a number of topics (such as the faking of the moon landing footage and the worldwide realisation of Holocaust atrocities).
Intelligently using clips in the film to illustrate rather than simply fill time, this is an artful and rich film that pays Kubrick’s work the compliment of not biasing its efforts to provoke discussion towards a single thread or point. It simply says to the viewer ‘The Shining is not a normal film, and we may never understand it’. It’s an apt message, and one that comes off brilliantly as the movie draws to a perfectly pitched conclusion.
Room 237 (2012), directed by Rodney Ascher, is released on DVD by Metrodome Distribution, Certificate 15.