Director: Rodney Archer
As if you thought you were obsessive with certain films, meet director Rodney Archer who has a strange obsession with the 1980 film The Shining. But when I say he is obsessed, that is actually an understatement. His documentary titled Room 237 attacks the conspiracy theories that lie within this film. Many believe that the director of The Shining, Stanley Kubrick, created this grotesque and creepy film well below the level of what he is capable of producing. The film is a series of flashbacks of the film, scenes from other films, and voiceover interviews to help explain conspiracy theories involving government conspiracy, genocide, and history, with many pictures of Indians and other things that I am slightly confused about.
On a scale from 1-10, 1 being ultra mainstream and 10 being ultra indie, I would rate this film a 9. This 9 does not represent that same emotional pull and amazing story line that many ultra indie films exude. I rate this film a 9 because I think it is so far away from the mainstream viewer’s interest. I think cinematically, this film was very creative in using the voiceover interviews and using shots from all sorts of films to give humor to this review of such a dark film. You should know that the director referred to himself through shots of Tom Cruise, but unfortunately, looked nothing like him in person. Room 237 does however, give great criticism about a director who is so praised, but when his poor directing skills are pointed out within this film, we question if those things were on purpose or if Stanley Kubrick really had no clue. The ability to include such arguments and criticism is something that I think many ultra indie films are known for, which makes this film worth seeing if you are looking to pull apart every detail of The Shining, frame by frame.
This documentary challenges the mythical quality relating to history, the government, and good quality directing I would say. I actually found many of the connections between The Shining and history quite comedic, especially when one of the voiceovers made brief connections to pictures on the walls of the way the carpet is designed. The director backs the audience into these conspiracy theories, but since we never hear from Kubrick himself, we are left debating if whether or not any of these are actually true, which is another plus to the creativeness of this ultra indie documentary.
Overall, this documentary will leave you questioning everything you saw in The Shining, but let me say, that you too must be very obsessed with this film to sit through all 104 minutes of analyzing frames down to the way the child plays with his toys. Truly creative and cinematically intriguing, Room 237 proved itself in the New Frontier section of Sundance Film Festival 2012.