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Room 237 [Blu-ray] [Import]

4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
Price: CDN$ 19.56
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Room 237 [Blu-ray] [Import] + The Untold History of the United States [Blu-ray]
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4.0 out of 5 stars A fun film about fanatics and their theories. Nov. 18 2013
Format:Blu-ray|Verified Purchase
What a fun, ridiculous, thought provoking documentary about hidden messaged and themes within Stanly Kubrick's "The Shining". It made me take several looks at the film and wonder if such symbolism was deep within the fabric of the film's story, set design, cinematography, etc. Maybe it is, maybe it isn't. Either way it's an entertaining way to view a motion picture classic in a various new ways.
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Amazon.com: 2.8 out of 5 stars  218 reviews
59 of 65 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Everyone is missing the point of this documentary Oct. 4 2013
By Justin - Published on Amazon.com
Verified Purchase
Most of the negative reviews here are from people who completely missed the point of this great documentary. This is NOT a documentary about the making of "The Shining." Not at all. In fact, this documentary makes it explicitly clear in the very first minute by putting up a disclaimer completely removing itself from any association of the film or the people who created it. It DOES NOT pretend to take a DEFINITIVE position as to the "actual" meaning of the film. Nor does it pretend to make definitive claims as to what Kubrick "really" meant when making this film. Not at all. The documentary's responsibility is very clear: to present the theories in one place for the viewer to take in themselves; to allow the viewer to entertain these theories the way they see fit.

This film doesn't force you to agree with any of the theories presented here. It's a documentary that simply lets you know that these theories exist--nothing more. You will see that the documentary's main focus is really about how a film can consume a person. This documentary is really about the relationship between film and its viewer. The film "The Shining" is merely a vehicle to tell the bigger story here: a representation of the love of cinema and how people see different things in films. Films are up for interpretation just like poems or books. This documentary celebrates that.

I'm not here to review the legitimacy of the theories but rather the intent of the documentary. The theories presented here may not work but the documentary as a whole most definitely works. I never knew that there were people out there that had studied "The Shining" this intensely. I never noticed the clues and hints that were pointed out. This documentary celebrates Kubrick, it celebrates "The Shining" and it mainly celebrates us, the fans of that great film. If you want to know what a twisted movie like "The Shining" can do to its viewers--besides scare the hell out of them---this documentary let's you know how such a film can hold on to people long after they've seen it.
50 of 57 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Mind-Boggling Exercise In Mad Movie Mania: Outlandish Film Theories Study The Nature of Fandom, Not Kubrick Sept. 23 2013
By K. Harris - Published on Amazon.com
Although the documentary feature "Room 237" has received largely favorable notices from the mainstream media, there seems to be a disconnect with regular movie-goers. I think that this breakdown comes in the form of expectations. "Room 237" is NOT about Stanley Kubrick's "The Shining." Not really. If you are looking for a critique about that movie, this is NOT it. Rather this is a study of obsessiveness and the art of amateur film theory. Each of the unseen subjects interviewed for the film have rather outlandish ideas about the hidden context of the 1980 horror endeavor. These aren't meant to be accepted at face value by the viewer. Some are quite preposterous, some are huge stretches, and some merely contradict the facts when necessary. What we see is how closely people relate to certain films and artists. As society has been consumed by the entertainment industry, these commentators all think they know the precise meaning of Kubrick's text regardless of how far-fetched it might appear to the rest of us. I, too, am a Kubrick scholar and have studied his work. But to dissect a movie in minute detail ascribing enormous significance to even the smallest bit of set dressing, it will boggle your mind!

"Room 237," therefore, is about this obsessive act of movie mania and not about the source film itself. "The Shining" just serves as the catalyst to examine this bizarre phenomenon. I didn't learn anything about the movie, but was instead pulled into the compulsive theorizing of the film's participants. There are some interesting individual points, to be sure, and amusing speculation, but I was more amused than enlightened. Was the film a commentary on the Holocaust or to the annihilation of the American Indian or Kubrick's confession to his role in the staged lunar landing? These are just three of the ideas presented within the film, just so you have an idea of the film's content. The movie will not sway you to taking any of these propositions to heart, but it is fun seeing how these conclusions came into fruition for the respective spectators. To their minds, there is no question about Kubrick's intention and this single-minded focus and left field read are fascinating to me as a film lover. I will confess, though, I did laugh at the theories with great frequency.

The movie is constructed with film clips from "The Shining," Kubrick's other films, and plenty of randomly selected moments from a variety of movies. We never see those that are postulating the bold new theories. Although I didn't believe anything at face value, I did appreciate the inconsistencies that were pointed out within the film. And some of these were probably intentional. Favorite clues: Danny on the hotel carpet playing with his trucks, his position changes as danger approaches. I also liked the mapping of the hotel as Danny drove his Big Wheel around. Biggest stretch: A ski poster is connected to a Minotaur? "Room 237" is an alternate look at obsessive fandom and, in that way, it succeeds greatly. No one is asking you to believe the far-fetched ideas, but to embrace the impact that films can have on their subjects. I really liked this movie and was amused by it, but it might not be for everyone. KGHarris, 9/13.
33 of 38 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I have a theory about why people don't like this movie. . . Sept. 20 2013
By Fintan Ryan - Published on Amazon.com
No I don't. But it is interesting that negative reviews seem to imagine the film-makers agree with the theories expounded by their theorists or that, if they don't, they should mock those theories or undermine them. The documentary shows you a bunch of things. Like. . . The mind's kind of an interesting place. Smart people can think some weird stuff. Weird stuff can pull you in. You can find yourself going 'Oh my God, yes' when really you should be going 'Oh my God'. There's such a thing as evidential bias. People believe what they want to believe. Why they want to believe it is mysterious. There might be some odd edifices in one's own head that could do with a stern look or a stick of dynamite. Some obsessives make some great things. Others maybe waste their lives. Stanley Kubric made a great movie.
None of these things are upsetting. I thought they made for beautiful documentary.
87 of 116 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Well made but focused on insane theories April 1 2013
By Amazon Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Verified Purchase
I rented this knowing it was a documentary about theories into hidden meanings of the Shining. I didn't realize that so much credibility would be given to such flimsy material.

For example, one theory is that Stanley Kubrick did not make this movie as an adaptation of a Stephen King novel, he made it to let everyone know his part in the faked moon landing footage. Oh boy. One of the pieces of evidence provided is a door hanger that says "ROOM No 237". Please don't fool yourself into thinking that this means the hanger identifies Room Number 237. Oh no. Can't you see it? You can rearrange the capital letters to spell "MOON!" (they don't explain what the leftover R indicates. My theory is that if you add the "R" in the middle, you get "MORON" which is what you have to be if you buy into that nonsense)

I believe that the same conspiracy theorist describes how a shot of clouds has Stanley Kubrick's face superimposed in them. The film freezes this frame and there is no Stanley Kubrick superimposition there.

They hit a lot of the inane things people use to back up their bogus theories. Numerology, come on down! There's a woman who sees a poster of a skier who decides it looks like a minotaur and we go on a five minute ride to crazy town (spoiler alert: the hedge maze is a labyrinth). The contents of a kitchen pantry are important in not one but two different nutball theories.

All that said, the film is well done from a technical perspective and there are some nice moments. One commentator breaks down Danny's three big wheel rides and the movie provides a real time map to show how the pattern that the big wheel takes could represent levels or reality and character perspective. The section where the movie is superimposed forwards and backwards at the same time provided some neat and beautiful imagery. Totally accidental and meaningless but cool to look at. I would have also liked to hear a sensible theory as to things like the carpet pattern switching when the ball rolls to Danny or why the other guy in the job interviews pants change. (hint: I doubt it involved faking a moon landing or Native American genocide).

This movie is basically the finest YouTube conspiracy video ever made. Not high praise, by the way. I would have really enjoyed some well thought out theories about the hidden meaning behind some of the classic imagery in the Shining. Seems like you could pass on this until it is an option to stream for free on Amazon Prime Instant Video or that other one that rhymes with GetFlix.

If you like this kind of film, I recommend The Pervert's Guide To Cinema It is also next level crazy but the guy never brings up the Moon Landing or makes you start rearranging letters or adding up numbers and telling you what that means. I can't recall if it has minotaurs or skiing. It does get pretty sexually graphic but the first half hour or so almost broke my brain it had so many ideas. It looks like it's out of print but maybe you will get lucky and track down a copy for less than $60.
11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars There's no point... Oct. 8 2013
By M. DALTON - Published on Amazon.com
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
...in arguing with the theories laid out here. The point is how obsessive these fans are and on that level its a fascinating experience. I always admired the technical brilliance of Kubrick's film along with Shelley Duvall's performance though not much else, but Room 237 sent me back to it with a different attitude and a better appreciation.
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