Film Review: Room 237

When I heard that there was a documentary out there about all the wild conspiracies behind Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining how could I resist? I love the film, it is brilliantly made and (as mentioned in the documentary) not many mysterious films can make you analyze and question its purpose 33 years after its release.

I didn’t realize people had conspiracy theories about The Shining until recently however, when I read an article and watched some Youtube videos about how Stanley Kubrick used the film to admit to the world his guilt of falsely recording the Apollo 11 moon landing. Crazy and outlandish right? 

Most of what these conspirators bring up is absolutely crazy and obviously coincidental. However, there is a point made every now and then that makes you ponder. Some of these things probably were the intention of Kubrick and his crew. I don’t want to dwell to much into the theories the documentary explores, you should see it if you are truly interested.

The movie itself (and I’m speaking about Room 237 now) is alright. The theories can be very interesting and that aspect is brilliant, but the editing in this film drove me crazy. Was it bad? in areas it was, in others it was very well done. For example, the documentary contains some impressive transitions and graphic work when doing some of its analysis. The biggest fault in the editing, for me, with the audio editing.

When I edit (for those who know me, I make my living editing on Avid for a major network) me and my producer often take the time to remove the “umms” and delays in speech. If the person is on-camera we slap some B-Roll over the cut we just made. None of the speakers are on camera in this documentary, yet there are brutally long pauses in speech that damage the documentaries pacing.

But, like I said I can’t fully fault the editing, because their graphic work was very impressive, the audio just needed some major sweetening.

This movie explores the mythical and at times outlandish theories that people have with this classic film. It is entertaining, at times comical, and at other times surprisingly intriguing. A lot of the theories allow the movie to explore the amazingly well-crafted production design cinematography, and editing. Roy Walker was the Designer for The Shining, John Alcott was the cinematographer, and  Ray Lovejoy the editor; but Kubrick gets all their commendations here (I know Kubrick still had input and power, but I believe they deserve some credit too.)

Room 237 is for people who simply love The Shining. I am one of those people, therefore I was entertained throughout, but the best parts for me of the documentary was when they got to explore the perfection of the design,cinematography and editing of The Shining. A film for lovers of film, really… well and conspiracy theorists on the subject.

Final Score: 2.5/4