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To me this is like watching a movie made by those crazy people on
internet forums who say, "How can you be so blind? this is all about
________!" Obviously there was a message about Native Americans in the
film, because they outright state that it was built on an ancient
Indian Burial Ground, and there is Native American art everywhere in
the hotel, but beyond that there is very little to go on besides
continuity errors for most of the other theories.
The worse part of the whole documentary was when they decided to play the film backwards and forwards at the same time, and were amazed that the ending and the beginning will appear the same way... well that's because you play both the ending and the beginning at the same time, and it eventually gets to the beginning and the ending by the end of this little experiment. What else would happen? They use this little experiment to justify why characters are really behaving the way they are.
Another commentator gives her kid credit for explaining a moment in the movie, a movie he never even watched and wasn't even commenting on.
There were a couple interesting things like the significance of showing a Red VW Beetle being smashed up and the apparent lie used to change the Room 217 to 237, but once again, beyond that it's mostly just ramblings by people who have no connection to the film saying a chair missing in a shot is note worthy instead of a error. These people think Stanley Kubrick and everyone he worked with to create all his films never make mistakes. I for one, don't think Kubrick is a perfect God with full control of every tiny little thing on his sets.
I don't suggest this to anyone, because you can find out the significance of any "clue" online easily, and you don't need to waste your time hearing all these conspiracy theories, some of which are so ridiculous, it's infuriating.
First of all, let me tell you that I've always found hidden messages,
conspiracies, occult themes etc extremely interesting and it's
something I love discussing about. I'm always very open minded when it
comes to this kind of stuff and when i saw the trailer for this movie i
just could not wait to watch it. The Shining is a masterpiece and just
the thought of that it could have a much bigger meaning was just too
good to be true.
Last night i finally watched it, and man was i ever disappointed. Like i said, I'm always opened minded when it comes to this kind of stuff, but the theories the creators of this film has come up with are so far- fetched it's almost embarrassing. They find a hidden meaning in every little thing and they never really seem to stop to question their own theories. Everything is taken for granted, and in my opinion, most of the claims are ridiculous; it holds no water.
To give you an example of just how ridiculous some of the theories are: If you watched Finding Nemo right now in the same state of mind as the creators of this movie watched The Shining, you too would find subliminal messages about everything from The Holocaust to the faked moon landing. It's just insane.
Also, all the different theories just turn into one big mess because there's so many of them, so it's hard to understand what they are actually trying to say.
However, big ups for making this type of movie. I just wish there were way more solid arguments and not all these extremely far-fetched ideas that don't really make sense. The creators might have some things correct (we'll never know) but for me it's just way too over ambitious and messy.
There is a lot of anger about this film on this page and, while I was
considering whether to watch it or not, it was this passionate hate
that made me interested to see it myself. It isn't across the board
though, but whenever someone dislikes this film they seem to really
dislike it. The problem seems to be that it appears to be a documentary
about The Shining but it really isn't any such thing but to watch it
as one must be frustrating because you sit to watch that and have to
listen to loopy theories about the film presented as (in your head)
facts. I didn't have this approach because I had heard it was all about
the theories rather than the film and as such I found it quite
fascinating even if it is a little too long.
The whole film is people talking over clips from the film or other clips illustrating their point; the theories range from the film being about the Holocaust through to the Native Americans through to the Kubrick making it about his own involvement in faking the moon landings. It is all pretty nutty in terms of what it says, but it works because the contributors believe it and they speak with such passion and enthusiasm about their specific interpretations that it is hard not to get drawn in. There are plenty of moments where you find yourself starting to listen rather than mock so specific things that are in the film that are attributed to meaning something and I started to wonder "well, why is that thing there it was chosen to be in this shot or be worn by this character, so what was that decision taken for". Of course there are plenty of bits that do the opposite and are pretty laughable but generally I found myself quite drawn in by it. The length works against this in some ways because it does stretch things out more than it can bear but it was still engaging to me.
Part of the interest for me was seeing how it is possible to really find meaning in anything if you apply yourself. I was never a fan of school lessons where we had to tear works apart looking at each detail and talking about what it could possibly mean, rather than just enjoying the whole for what it does, and this is what happens here. The hunt for meaning and for symbols rewards those that are doing it, but ultimately they all have their point if their theory is true. The extent of their criticial analysis of each frame and second of the film is intense and it did make me wonder why they did it and whether they are still able to see the film for the great piece of entertainment that it is?
Room 237 is too long and lacks a clear point it would have benefited from something topping and tailing it, but as it is I still found it engaging thanks to the passion and detail in the delivery; it doesn't mock these people it just gives them a platform and leaves the rest to us and them. I found it interesting even if ultimately it is quite empty as a film ultimately if you dig in every corner looking for your agenda, you'll find enough to back you up which isn't the same as you being correct. This is the message that I took from it and I found that message to be entertaining, but it is ironic that Room 237 is about lots of people seeking meaning in one film, all while it really doesn't do a good job of presenting its own meaning.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
I would think Stephen King would be more p|ssed about the just plain
awful documentary, Room 237, than the movie it's based on.
I need to make a retraction: Not one day had past when I wrote a review that said the masterpiece The Shining should be taught in film schools, I saw Room 237 and thought differently. Just enjoy the classic for what it is. If you look as deep as these buffoons did, you're missing the extreme pleasure it is just to watch it.
Let's get the "synopsis" out of the way so I can really tell you what's going on: Five (or six?) strangers, unseen by viewers, provide their conspiracy theories disguised as commentary of 1980's The Shining and their stories range from wildly outrageous to downright nitpicking. Meanwhile, as they're telling their stories, completely unfitting and distractedly horrible stock film footage "paints" the picture of what they're trying to convey. Too bad; neither their background nor the stale footage is interesting.
And what gives? Why didn't anyone want to reveal themselves? Why couldn't we see anyone? Hell, I would've preferred the standard "professor in front of a bookcase with raised eyebrows" shot than Tom Cruise (from Eyes Wide Shut) relentlessly and ridiculously playing one of these invisible loonies. (I hope he threw a fit for being associated with them.)
I digress. I guess these are all "professionals" and are well-known, well, to some. But, I've never heard of them, at least prior to the showing and they only give me the impression that they're all snobs and never held my attention for more than a few seconds. I'm glad I don't know who they are, because I wouldn't care to follow them.
I get the point of the faux-pas "live" audio commentary. It was not just to get the nobodies (to me) to tell their first or 1,500th feel for The Shining, it was for them to desperately try to convince people of the deeper meaning behind the movie, or at least, show the movie goofs. Three theories that I can recall are extremely far-fetched, but I guess people see what they want to see:
A> Director Kubrick made the movie about the oppression of the Native Americans.
B> Director Kubrick made the movie about the Nazi holocaust.
C> Director Kubrick made the movie about the "fake moon landing footage." (This one was my favorite conspiracy theory and made me laugh the hardest.)
Now, I completely agree on the central theme: Kubrick was a genius in his cinematic achievements and even without so much researching his background, reading any of the books based on his life or even seeing all his movies, I can see him adding many, if not hundreds, of subliminal tidbits in his movies, namely, The Shining. So, some of what these comedians were pointing out, made me raise an eyebrow, but not much else.
I could go to any movie, masterpiece or not, and see the color blue in every room, in one form or another and say the movie was about The Great Depression. Heck, people read the Bible and can spend this much time as Room 237 did to point out on how it fits their agenda.
At any rate, going back to the three biggest conspiracy theories, which by the way, can't all be right at the same time or maybe, Kubrick laid these breadcrumbs for fools to follow so he can be further amused when he was alive, the Native American one was the most obvious. They verbally spoke about and visually showed artifacts, paintings and symbols throughout. My six-year-old niece, who shouldn't be watching this scary movie in the first place!, could've pointed that out.
The second one, the oppression, obsession and ominous killing of the Jews in WWII, was a little deeper, but quite a reach. Again, I, too, could see the number "42" or three additional numbers that could be added or multiplied to make "42" as say it was either about the year Hitler began his genocide, or I could say it was a cozy reference to the Brooklyn Dodger's Jackie Robinson. I mean, I could even throw in that there was "a black chef who, we all know, chefs love baseball and he was, well, black."
The third one, the moon landing fictional film, I've heard before. Not in reference to The Shining, but in passing. This one did make me laugh, enough so, that I couldn't even remotely believe what the commentator was trying to preach. He went as far as to change letters, or create anagrams out of words in the movie. I guess since one character basically becomes an "iceman" and dies at the end of the original film, then the director could be saying "cinema" will die eventually, as well.
Seriously. I should do this. I should make a "Checking Back into Room 237" sequel and come up with anything I want to make of it. I'll start off with " As you can see, Jack gets a drink poured on him and he's lead into a red bathroom, which is an obvious reference to Stephen King's Carrie, to which Kubrick was trying to say he was p|ssed that he missed on making that movie over this one. And, to further my point, there is a ton of blood pouring from the elevators, which, as we all know, elevators go up and down, like the pig's blood that went up and eventually down on Carrie at the prom "
Wow. I'm even starting to convince myself that I am right in my theory. In fact, perhaps I should watch The Shining again to see if I can make more stuff up.
Final words: Tommy Wiseau's The Room is a helluva lot more entertaining than this Room was. Skip this. See the masterpiece, instead.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
A documentary on Stanley Kubrick's 1980 film The Shining, exploring
possible hidden meanings, cryptic elements and alternative
interpretations of the plot.
Whilst this is an original and informative investigation of a much-beloved horror classic, in my view it's not really a very good film. I have two reasons for this. Firstly, a lot of what is said ranges from the pointless (continuity errors vs deliberate mistakes) to foolish conjecture (the whole Apollo moon landings element), instead of focussing on the more conventional interpretations. Stephen King's book is about a Bad Place where Bad Stuff has happened, and the shining is the psychic receptiveness Danny has which allows the hotel to tune into him (and to a lesser extent Jack), with the central metaphor of the boiler blowing representing madness and death. Kubrick's film is the same idea, but in a more metaphysical context, with the boiler replaced by a maze (the actual one and the hotel's corridors) reflecting the layers of Jack's psychosis. Nobody in this documentary mentions any of this; they're all convinced it's an allegory for the Nazi Holocaust, some cosmic key involving the number forty-two or whatever. There is nothing wrong with these ideas but they say a lot more about the people talking than they do about The Shining. The second problem I have is the sound, which is pretty feeble. There are many good ideas here, like the Impossible Window, or the Minotaur motif, and there are some great visual touches too, especially the graphics of the floor plans. What's undeniable is that The Shining has an aura to it - unlike most horror movies which shock with violence or paranoia, it has this undefinable weirdness to it, a strange atmosphere which Kubrick somehow seems to have breathed into it. His films are rich in the sense that plot-wise they are loose (to the point of exasperation sometimes) but visually they are packed with stuff going on - each frame is filled with interesting things that he carefully considered in a way other directors either didn't care about or simply didn't have time for. This is why they are all so open to such a huge variety of interpretation. He pushed the medium to artistic limits, but he also understood its raison d'etre and key strengths - storytelling, drama, action and suspense - something all these folks have overlooked. This is a fun film for moviehounds to debate afterwards over coffee, but for a more informative view of The Shining, get the Warners Kubrick DVD box-set, which has five of his stunning movies, but also Vivian Kubrick's terrific on-set documentary and Jan Harlan's excellent A Life In Pictures film. Also, read King's book, which is on of the greatest novels of the twentieth century.
There's only so much you can say when talking about a documentary,
particularly one that is about film itself, but the sheer range of
emotions one experiences while watching Room 237 is as wild as many of
the theories being espoused on the screen.
This is a delightfully mad view into the world of just some obsessive nerds (three out of the five who contribute to this have identical voices) who feel they have unlocked an elusive film by an even more elusive filmmaker.
It makes sense given Kubrick's own obsessive level of detail in his films that there can feasibly exist a sub-cult of obsessive pouring over the meaning of these details, and here we really get the full range of interpretation.
Some of the claims (the holocaust or fake moon landings apologies for instance) are downright bizarre and at times infuriating (something about faces in clouds) but never to a point where you stop being interested in what these misfits have to say.
Other theories are actually a lot more self-evident than their orators claim.
Of course the hotel is as just a disorientating maze as the literal hedge one outside, the film is supposed to be disorientating and of course this film is about the past and highlights the white-man's burden, the bloodshed of the native Americans haunts the film, and Colorado, throughout.
But some fascinating results still come from the experiments these interpretations require to give any kind of legitimacy.
The particular highlight is the idea of the film being played forwards and backwards simultaneously, which creates some incredible coincidences.
So in the end, this is a particularly enjoyable exercise in how interpretations can shape-shift, in any great art form, once boiled down to the sum of its parts, something Vladimir Nabokov (whose classic Lolita was directed by Kubrick) takes much pleasure beyond the grave in letting people get lost in the labyrinth references he created within his art.
This film provides the idea that Kubrick is probably up there laughing with him. www.ravechild.co.uk
Being an avid Kubrick fan, I could not wait to see this film even though The Shining is one of my least favorite of his movies. I did enjoy Room 237; it's a fun movie. Like Kubrick himself you never know whether it's being serious or poking fun at the viewer. Some of the "hidden messages" that Kubrich is supposed to have put into The Shining are patently ridiculous but some others will make you want to go & watch The Shining again, and again! The masterstroke here is when someone states that Kubrick was meticulous about arranging every frame in his movies (which every Kubrick fan knows to be true) and no object appears in any frame by accident. Of course the film makers then take this to an extreme but it does make for a quite funny and entertaining time.
This review should be done in two parts: firstly, reviewing the
theories presented and secondly, reviewing the documentary style
First, most of the theories are just plain boring and are of a "so what?" nature and they lead nowhere. Example is the number 42 stuff. It's presented as an interesting point, but it doesn't lead anywhere. Same with the American Indian stuff. The movie itself plainly tells us that the hotel was on an Indian burial ground and there are Indian motifs in the hotel. It's not a grand conspiracy to think that Indian spirits could be involved here. And the whole minotaur part was 5 minutes of my life I wish I had back. Some of what these people are saying could have easily been edited down.
The Apollo 11 stuff was somewhat interesting, but it this seems to have been handled the least for some reason.
Overall the theories I don't think were presented well at all in most cases.
Now, as far as this film itself, it was pretty poor an amateurish. The interviewees' sound wasn't good at times, and one of them even has to say "hold on" because his child is making noise. This is what I would expect of my neighbor, not a produced film that is getting good reviews.
Also, the clips not of The Shining that occur during conversation to relate to what's being said is at times distracting and unnecessary. And there are more than one times where someone who might not know every second of The Shining don't know if they are watching a clip from it or some other movie or just some random thing that's trying to tie in to what's being said. Again, this isn't handled very well at all.
The film works in that if gets you thinking at times, but there are other times where you roll your eyes. This doesn't help the overall theme.
It could have been much better.
The theories presented range from a confession of filming the 'faked'
moon landing, hidden analogies representing World War II and even the
genocide of the American Indians. These messages are seen in various
sources, from the posters /paintings on walls, the numbers used in the
film, the props in each scene to the broken continuity between shots.
We never see the interviewees, preventing us from identifying or
personalising these stories, instead the focus is on the footage and
the alleged proofs.
Although some interesting points are made it is hard to take every connection seriously. It is possible to see these embedded messages especially if you are connecting them to recent historical influences, but historical context can be read in all movies if you are looking for it.
The most interesting part of this film is the way in which people interact, relate, and interpret, as they make connections through the placement of objects, colours and settings. If I had watched The Shining over 50 times, would I too create 'hidden' meanings and discover underlying messages? We know Kubrick was a creative master in the field, but could exploring The Shining in such detail ruin the very mystery he was striving to achieve?
Over 30 years later Kubrick and they are still searching...job done.
This movie was worth while, it was interesting, entertaining and made you think. For a fan of the shining, or Kubrick or conspiracy theories this was a great film. Junk science came to mind a few times, to me the most interesting parts of the film were the details which were brought to the attention of the viewer which Kubrick definitely had a hand in, the conspiracy theories, ideas about the holocaust, extermination of the native Americans and faking of the lunar landing were a bit more out there but intriguing and I wouldn't put anything past Kubrick. The most interesting point of the film to me was the discussion of post modern works of art and the claim that irregardless of the authors intent, themes can be found which might have been or have not been consciously intended. Overall, the mind of Kubrick, his eye for detail, his humor and overall brilliance is what is most evident when watching this film. If one looks for themes and ways to make connections they can be found in many different places, overall this can lead to seeing reality though higher levels of awareness and if one is lucky enough glimpses of enlightenment, that was the broader and most important theme in this movie.
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