Quick Take: Room 237

room-237-final-theatrical-posterRoom 237 is a documentary of film clips from Stanley Kubrick’s films plus others which stitch together the voices of fans of The Shining who put forth various musings about the veiled meanings contained within.  The disembodied viewers contend that Kubrick intended The Shining to be about the genocide of the Native Americans, a study of the Holocaust or conversely a confession from Kubrick about his apparent staging of the moon landing.  The many ideas and theories point at small details in the set and movement of the camera to bolster dubious claims about Kubrick’s true intent.  Pointing out the confusion of the set as a way of causing unease in the audience, which may be missed without rigorous repeat viewings, is interesting but not well-informed.  The commentators lift the film up to a pedestal that is deserved yet completely dismiss the very real possibility that Kubrick was simply a good student of film history.  The complex sets and symbols of Resnais’ Last Year at Marienbad are mirrored and alluded to in The Shining, yet that glaring similarity is not acknowledged.  The reverent and obsessive dissection becomes grating and borderline ridiculous; for example running the film simultaneously backwards and forwards to find some mysterious hidden meaning from Kubrick. It’s the equivalent of finding connections between The Wizard of Oz and Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon. It’s fun but it doesn’t have intention; the audience is giving added meaning where there may be none.