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11-17-2012, 06:06 PM
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Poked the bear!!!!!
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Join Date: Jun 2006
Location: Montreal, QC
Country: Canada
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Room 237: 6/10
The Shining is hands down my favorite film of all time. I've watched it at least around 15 times by now, but my level of devotion to it nowhere reaches that of the obsessives featured in the documentary Room 237.
I first became aware of the millions of theories on The Shining via the KDK12 blog by John Fell Ryan, one of the featured voices in the documentary. The film touches on a multitude of crackpot dissections of Kubrick's film - some credible, some laughable. Was the movie, with all its Native American imagery, a metaphor for the American massacre of Indians? Was the movie, with its reference to the number 42, a meditation on the Holocaust? Was the movie, with its moon/Apollo references, an allusion to Kubrick's involvement with the moon landing hoax? If all of this sounds is. It's disappointing that so much time is devoted to crackpot, nutty theories when several more interesting observations are dealt with only briefly. One of the voiceovers discusses all the architectural impossibilities of the Overlook - "impossible" windows, hallways that can't logically exist, rooms that seem to loop back onto themselves. Another remarks that, in Hallorann's trip to the Overlook, he passes a red VW beetle crushed by a truck - a reading that suggests Kubrick is openly "crushing" King's source material, for Jack's vehicle in the book is a red VW beetle. These are far more fascinating than any insane observation that, in one of the dissolves of the 1920's picture at the end of the film, Jack's hair fades into his upper lip forming briefly a "Hitler mustache".
Only true obsessives will find half the theories here of any worth - most will scoff and roll their eyes. The only argument some of the crazier notions in the movie have in their favor is the fact that Kubrick was notoriously detail-oriented. Some of what seem like filmmaking inconsistencies (a disappearing chair, Jack's typewriter changing, the clocks being constantly out of synch) could be intentional and an allusion to something deeper. The documentary presents all these with an impartial eye, but more attention should have been devoted to the 'serious' theories. A lot of this winds up sounding like lunacy...admittedly a fitting result for those trapped inside the Overlook, indeed.

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