Room 237 2016 ***

Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining has become something of a Rorschach blot in which everyone seems something different emerging from the murk. Rodney Ascher’s documentary allows six contributors to unfold their theories about the potential meanings, with everyone working from the premise that the great man couldn’t possibly have set his sights so low as a straightforward horror film. Room 237 suggests, amongst other things, that The Shining is Kubrick’s apology for faking the moon landings, or that it’s an examination of Native American genocide. The arguments aren’t particularly well presented; no interviewees are seen, and their droning voices are intermingled, so that it’s sometimes unclear which theory is which. But while none of the theories are convincing, Ascher’s film forces audiences to look at the wealth of detail in one film, and consider why so many diverse people have been fascinated by its elusive, elliptical content.


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