Representing a labyrinthine nightmare both in terms of subject matter and also fair rights usage, Rodney Ascher's documentary “Room 237” delves into “The Shining” and Stanley Kubrick's themes and meanings like never before. Using source material from Mario Bava films to Disney cartoons, everything from set dressing to shot angles in Kubrick's horror classic is analyzed to nail down some sort of truth, and the film's just-released trailer certainly hints at that mystery.
Although nothing more than a slow, dark crawl down what appear to be the Overlook Hotel's floors, along with pull quotes from critics who viewed it at various festivals, the trailer nonetheless raises excitement simply for what it represents. All of Kubrick's works carry the mark of an obsessive, and in the case of “The Shining,” Ascher draws from interviews with professors and authors to explore possible story elements — like the director's potential allegory of American genocide or Holocaust symbolism with the narrative — and peels back the layers on an already fascinating film
While appearing on the surface perhaps just a cinephile's curiosity, “Room 237” has wisely been picked up by IFC Midnight in hopes that interest grows wider, and we'd say that's a definite possibility. Ascher's film looks celebrates art in general, and as we noted in our Cannes review, it is “a reminder of how much Kubrick left for us to appreciate in his work, and how the greatest films always leave something more to be discovered with each viewing.”
“Room 237” next plays the New York Film Festival.