Room 237 (film review) (Frank’s Take).

April 1, 2013 | By | Reply More

Filmmaker Rodney Ascher’s amusingly off-kilter, observant and contemplative documentary ‘Room 237′ certainly proves that wild imaginations, sophisticated forethought, crafted misinterpretations and selective conspiracy theories can be artfully applied to almost anything th

Filmmaker Rodney Ascher’s amusingly off-kilter, observant and contemplative documentary ‘Room 237′ certainly proves that wild imaginations, sophisticated forethought, crafted misinterpretations and selective conspiracy theories can be artfully applied to almost anything that enthusiastically tickles the passion of an obsessive individual.

For movie buffs from all walks of life, Ascher’s ‘Room 237′ offers an inspired if not bizarre look at possessed cinephiles that locate and link various kinds of symbolism behind legendary moviemaker genius Stanley Kubrick and his macabre masterpiece in 1980’s ‘The Shining’. Astonishingly, many believed that Kubrik embedded specialized messages in this hedonistic horror show that starred Jack Nicholson, Shelly Duvall and Scatman Crothers. Curiously, ‘The Shining’ for these fanatical folks was not just a caustically conceived frightfest that was adapted from a popular spine-tingling Stephen King novel.

So what are some of the off-base speculations that Ascher showcases from his featured talking heads in ‘Room 237′? Well, among the twisted theories that exist about Kubrick and his cinematic puzzle ‘The Shining’ range from Native American genocide to the staging of a faked moon landing. Maybe Kubrick instilled some serious-minded fodder about the Holocaust? Obviously, the only simplistic decoding that the audience recalled instantly was the trance-ridden little boy Danny’s eerie chanting of ‘red rum’ (which is cleverly ‘murder’ spelled backwards). Whatever the incredulous belief system is in actuality Ascher shrewdly allows these whoppers to manifest and come to whacky life with head-scratching bewilderment.

Are we to believe that these far-fetched conspiracies about Kubrick’s challenging tampering with hidden patterns of theories in ‘The Shining’ are inane, inappropriate and insensitive? Perhaps what these ‘Shining’ insiders are freely spewing is indeed noteworthy and relevant? After all, Kubrick was believed to be a creative madman with an unorthodox vision behind the camera. Could there be some legitimate merit behind these wayward claims that ‘The Shining’ has more to its creepy bone than what meets the naked casual eye? The movie resourcefully lays out the outlandish premise for the viewers to decide if the cockeyed conspiracy theories being discussed are either fabricated food for thought or underestimated discoveries that only the alerted cinema souls can unravel and expose with concrete conviction.

The skillful aspect to ‘Room 237′ is the comprehensive and insightful depth that each of the selected theorist presents in their explanation to back up their assertions of the unassuming ‘Shining’ shenanigans. The instinct is to roll one’s eyes and plant a silly grin on the face. Still, the participants that dish their theorised dirt are quite convincing, articulate and expressive in their examination of Kubrick and the beleaguered Torrance family performing the winter caretaking duties at the Overlook Hotel.

For instance, one of Ascher’s accomplished sources is Albion College history professor Geoffrey Cocks who has authored some books (among them ‘The Wolf At The Door: Stanley Kubrick, History And The Holocaust’) and gives his thorough dissertation of ‘The Shining’s peek-a-boo meanings that relate to the Holocaust’s horrific connection. There are a handful of other commentators like Cocks shelling out their amazing impressions about the preposterous signs that are secretly looming in ‘The Shining’.

‘Room 237’ (the movie title referring to one of the rooms in ‘The Shining’s fictional Overlook Hotel) is a profoundly vibrant and unconventional documentary that is playfully mysterious, odd, and responsive. The urge to watching ‘The Shining’ many times over based on the treasure hunt for alleged Kubrick-induced eccentricities will make us just as batty for searching for answers that may or may not subscribe to any validity whatsoever.

Room 237 (2013)

IFC Films

1 hr. 41 mins.

Starring: Geoffrey Cocks, Bill Blakemore, Juli Kearns, John Fell Ryan, Buffy Visick and Jay Weldner

Directed by: Rodney Ascher

MPAA Rating: NR

Genre: Horror/Documentary

Critic’s rating: *** stars (out of 4 stars)

at enthusiastically tickles the passion of an obsessive individual.

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For movie buffs from all walks of life, Ascher’s ‘Room 237′ offers an inspired if not bizarre look at possessed cinephiles that locate and link various kinds of symbolism behind legendary moviemaker genius Stanley Kubrick and his macabre masterpiece in 1980’s ‘The Shining’. Astonishingly, many believed that Kubrik embedded specialized messages in this hedonistic horror show that starred Jack Nicholson, Shelly Duvall and Scatman Crothers. Curiously, ‘The Shining’ for these fanatical folks was not just a caustically conceived frightfest that was adapted from a popular spine-tingling Stephen King novel.

So what are some of the off-base speculations that Ascher showcases from his featured talking heads in ‘Room 237′? Well, among the twisted theories that exist about Kubrick and his cinematic puzzle ‘The Shining’ range from Native American genocide to the staging of a faked moon landing. Maybe Kubrick instilled some serious-minded fodder about the Holocaust? Obviously, the only simplistic decoding that the audience recalled instantly was the trance-ridden little boy Danny’s eerie chanting of ‘red rum’ (which is cleverly ‘murder’ spelled backwards). Whatever the incredulous belief system is in actuality Ascher shrewdly allows these whoppers to manifest and come to whacky life with head-scratching bewilderment.

Are we to believe that these far-fetched conspiracies about Kubrick’s challenging tampering with hidden patterns of theories in ‘The Shining’ are inane, inappropriate and insensitive? Perhaps what these ‘Shining’ insiders are freely spewing is indeed noteworthy and relevant? After all, Kubrick was believed to be a creative madman with an unorthodox vision behind the camera. Could there be some legitimate merit behind these wayward claims that ‘The Shining’ has more to its creepy bone than what meets the naked casual eye? The movie resourcefully lays out the outlandish premise for the viewers to decide if the cockeyed conspiracy theories being discussed are either fabricated food for thought or underestimated discoveries that only the alerted cinema souls can unravel and expose with concrete conviction.

The skillful aspect to ‘Room 237′ is the comprehensive and insightful depth that each of the selected theorist presents in their explanation to back up their assertions of the unassuming ‘Shining’ shenanigans. The instinct is to roll one’s eyes and plant a silly grin on the face. Still, the participants that dish their theorised dirt are quite convincing, articulate and expressive in their examination of Kubrick and the beleaguered Torrance family performing the winter caretaking duties at the Overlook Hotel.

For instance, one of Ascher’s accomplished sources is Albion College history professor Geoffrey Cocks who has authored some books (among them ‘The Wolf At The Door: Stanley Kubrick, History And The Holocaust’) and gives his thorough dissertation of ‘The Shining’s peek-a-boo meanings that relate to the Holocaust’s horrific connection. There are a handful of other commentators like Cocks shelling out their amazing impressions about the preposterous signs that are secretly looming in ‘The Shining’.

‘Room 237’ (the movie title referring to one of the rooms in ‘The Shining’s fictional Overlook Hotel) is a profoundly vibrant and unconventional documentary that is playfully mysterious, odd, and responsive. The urge to watching ‘The Shining’ many times over based on the treasure hunt for alleged Kubrick-induced eccentricities will make us just as batty for searching for answers that may or may not subscribe to any validity whatsoever.

Room 237 (2013)

IFC Films

1 hr. 41 mins.

Starring: Geoffrey Cocks, Bill Blakemore, Juli Kearns, John Fell Ryan, Buffy Visick and Jay Weldner

Directed by: Rodney Ascher

MPAA Rating: NR

Genre: Horror/Documentary

 

Critic’s rating: *** stars (out of 4 stars)

Tags: , , ,

Category: Films, Horror, MEDIA

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About the Author ()

Frank Ochieng has contributed film reviews to SF Crowsnest off and on since 2003. He has been published in other various movie site venues throughout the years. Ochieng has been part of The Online Film Critics Society (OFCS) and had written film reviews for The Boston Banner newspaper (USA) and frequently is a media/entertainment panelist on WBZ NewsRadio 1030 AM on "The Jordan Rich Show" in Boston, Massachusetts/USA.

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