2013. Directed by Rodney Ascher.
A unique documentary that focuses on film fans more than the actual film, Room 237 presents several unique theories on the true mean behind Stanley Kubrick's legendary The Shining.
There are several theories that are examined:
One deals with the idea that the entire film is a comment on the murder of Native Americans. There are various Native American motifs throughout the film and the theorist believes that the haunting is a form of supernatural revenge against past transgressions.
Another contends that the film is somehow related to NASA faking the moon landings based on certain cinematography techniques that Kubrick employed.
Another likens the Overlook's Hedge Maze to a story about The Minotaur, basing all of this one a photo in the hotel, that is later shown to be a skier on the slopes.
One of the more astounding theories is how the entire film is a statement about the Holocaust.
One of the most powerful elements of Room 237 is an extended sequence where the film is played from the beginning while it is also overlayed over the film playing from the end backwards. As the superimposed version plays it draws some interesting parallels in the narrative and also evokes some startling images that are very slick and bound to create conversation.
The most interesting thing about this film is that it's really a statement about people who love films. Whether you're a casual fan with a few die hard favorites or someone that lives and breaths celluloid, Room 237 is talking to you. We all have those movies that we believe to be masterpieces. Films that we've debated with our friends for hours over the true meaning behind the images. I found Ascher's film to be a playful ribbing of the concept that we tend to find extreme depth and meaning where there isn't.
The film's true meaning (see, I'm doing it) is more of an homage to the love of film. One man's trash is another film lover's treasured go to film and Room 237 delights in this concept by using Kubrick's horror titan as an example of how far we as fans are willing to go in defense of the things we love. With the current fan culture being divisive and sometimes outright hostile, I think this film is a very intimate plea.
Love what you love and let others love what they love. In the end our mutual love of entertainment should bring us together, not divide.