Room 237 (2012)

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Rodney Asch directs this documentary featuring Jack Nicholson, Stanley Kubrick and Danny Lloyd that exposes the inanity of critical theory with The Shining as its example.

A series of interlinked voiceovers that profess their detailed theories on the hidden meanings in Stanley Kubrick’s horror masterpiece. All take deadpan glee in finding magic bullets in background props and forger’s notes in continuity errors. Taken at face value it can be a maddening experience watching your favourite film being torn apart and reassembled by academic freaks desperate to prove their own hypothesis about the Holocaust, the faked moon landings and genocide of the American Indians. Yet if you let their forensic deconstruction just wash over you then Room 237 occasionally dredges up an interesting fact, or even entire interpretation you can get behind. As their obsessions reveal themselves more and more then the sillier it all becomes, making the endeavour actually some kind of thinking man’s geek show comedy. Whether watching this has tarnished or improved my love of The Overlook Hotel I can’t say, only the next viewing will tell. The sequence where they overlap the normal and backward prints of the film has an inspiring beauty though.

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