Register  |   Log In  |  
Sign up to our weekly newsletter    
Search   
Empire Magazine and iPad
Follow Me on Pinterest YouTube Tumblr
Empire
Trending On Empire
Empire's New Tom Cruise Cover
The Jameson Empire Awards 2014
Vote: The Greatest 301 Movies Of All Time!
Rebecca Hall:
My Movie Life

The actress picks the movies that shaped her
Mountain Dew Green Screen
Register now to see X-Men: First Class!
Reviews
STAR RATINGS EXPLAINED
Unmissable 5 Stars
Excellent 4 Stars
Good 3 Stars
Poor 2 Stars
Tragic 1 Star

FILM DETAILS
Certificate
TBC
Cast
Bill Blakemore
Geoffrey Cocks
Juli Kearns
John Fell Ryan
Jay Weidner.
Directors
Rodney Ascher.
Screenwriters
Running Time
102 minutes

LATEST FILM REVIEWS
You & Me Forever
4 Star Empire Rating
An Episode In The Life Of An Iron Picker
4 Star Empire Rating
Cupcakes
3 Star Empire Rating
Looking For Light: Jane Bown
3 Star Empire Rating
Exhibition
4 Star Empire Rating



5 STAR REVIEWS
Rebel Without A Cause
5 Star Empire Rating
Calvary
5 Star Empire Rating
Wake In Fright
5 Star Empire Rating
Stranger By The Lake
5 Star Empire Rating
Whatever Happened To Baby Jane?
5 Star Empire Rating

Room 237
The Best Exotic Moribund Hotel


submit to reddit


Plot
Five Shining obsessives — a war reporter, a professor, a playwright, a musician and an author — expound their theories about Kubrick’s horror masterpiece. It’s so much better than it sounds.


Review
Room 237
As fastidious and obsessive as Kubrick himself, Rodney Ascher’s brilliantly imaginative investigation into The Shining is at once rigorously smart and gloriously bonkers, a work of fan faction that will make you think, laugh and send you back to the movie quicker than you can say Red Rum.

More than anything, Room 237 resembles the kind of critical video essay that is commonplace online but here is delivered with much more intelligence, wit and technical élan than the average movie-minded mash-up. Dividing into nine title-carded sections, Ascher dives headlong into the world of Overlook obsession. Some of the arguments on show are borderline obvious (it is a metaphor for the genocide of the Native American Indian), some are clearly crackpot (it is proof positive that Kubrick faked the moon-landing footage), others fascinatingly skirt the line in-between. Whatever the level of reason, Ascher presents these arguments with a lucid lack of condescension that allows each of them to reverberate as brain food.

To illustrate the arguments, Ascher offers a canny compilation of shots and scenes from The Shining, the ‘making of’ and Kubrick’s back catalogue. On-screen diagrams track Danny’s trike, revealing the hotel geography as impossible. We see the superimposition of shots as the film is projected forwards and backwards at the same time (check out the first and last shot juxtaposition). The carpet patterns, the Indian on the baking powder tin, Danny’s Apollo 11 jumper, German typewriters, Playgirl and, of course, the mysteries of Room 237 all come in for some marvellous scrutiny.

Ascher has also assembled a virtuoso collection of clips from all over the place — Mario Bava to Walt Disney, Jesus Christ Superstar to Schindler’s List — as sly counterpoint to the theories (the best involves Creepshow). The whole thing is nutzoid but is about more than just The Shining. Room 237 captures the true nature of viewing, talking about and dissecting movies to the nth degree and it is infectious. Think Cheaper By The Dozen is just a Steve Martin film about a big old family? Think again.


Verdict
A celebration of Kubrick, The Shining and the thrill of watching, analysing and loving film. It’s the best movie about a movie we’ve seen in ages.


Reviewed by Ian Freer

Write Your Review
To write your review please login or register.

Your Reviews

Average user rating for Room 237
Empire Star Rating

tp://www.imdb.com/title/tt2085910/?ref_=fn_al_tt_1]Room 237his makes a good double bill with The Shining itself. It`s a documentary in wich different people (wich you don`t get to see by the way, wich gives us more time for images from the film itself and to support their theories) talk about their views on what The Shining is really about. Among them we hear someone talk about how he is convinced that it`s about the genocide on the Indians, someone who think the film has to do with the Holocaus... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by TheGodfather at 22:17, 24 June 2013 | Report This Post


RE: Rambling on and on and on.

I saw this on Friday, certainly not a 'classic' (Five stars... really?) but you can't help but feel both intrigued by some of the themes, motifs and observations that come up and bewildered by what are clearly some mental filmgoers. The native american theme for me seemed the most realistic though of course we'll never get to find out what Kubrick's intentions were. Some were laughable though (it was definitely a skier, not a centaur...lol). I did love the backwards/forwards thing though (even ... More

Posted by UTB at 03:39, 13 May 2013 | Report This Post


RE: Rambling on and on and on.

Some extremely weird theories in this film, ranging from quite plausible in parts (such as the 'impossible' set design used to unnerve viewers) to the completely weird (it's all somehow due to Kubrick's guilt about faking the moon landings). The more interesting theories are the ones discussing the film itself (such as the extent of Danny's influence on events) rather than the ones about Nazis and Indians. The version of The Shining played forwards and backwards does throw up some ext... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by RobotDevil at 03:23, 13 May 2013 | Report This Post


Rambling on and on and on.

I didn't expect so many inane rantings by this bunch of uninteresting talking heads. About 5 minutes of this documentary would summarize all the interesting theories well enough, but unfortunately there is another 90 minutes of observations that would generally be too stupid to include even as a bonus feature on a DVD of The Shining. Just go and watch The Shining for yourself and you'll easily come up with more interesting interpretations than anything offered in this film. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by film ninja at 00:00, 03 May 2013 | Report This Post


Utter, utter rubbish

Bunch of fanatcis that see things that just aren't there and then smugly comment on how us normal people wouldn't spot it. New entry into my "Worst ten films of all time" ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by david hayes at 16:02, 29 April 2013 | Report This Post


Utter Tripe!

Possible spoilers! Believe what you want, but my opinion is these theorists are seeing what they want to see and trying to make something of something that just isn't there. Why does there have to be so many conspiricies? Whats wrong with just making a great psychological thriller? Some of the outlandsish claims are just plain ludicrous, for example, Mr Ullman and the phallic symbol when he shakes Jack's hand?! Or maybe its just a coinsidence, the poster of the skier really being an ima... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by fraser1978 at 09:32, 04 April 2013 | Report This Post


Room 237

Spot on, this is a film that has obsessives dissect (perhaps overly so) Stanley Kubrick's 1980 masterpiece The Shining. Yes, some of the theories here may well be nonsense but that is not the point. The point is seeing a film that expresses the bewildering depths in which we read films, as well as the mystique that surrounds certain works of cinema. Each opinion here be it apollo or impossible windows is argued with such passion that you never feel as though these people are being silly, they be... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by JJB888 at 23:04, 29 March 2013 | Report This Post


Look! Doesn't the paper tray look like a boner when he stands beside it? THE HOLOCAUST IS IN THIS MOVIE!!!"

Absurd rubbish, I'm afraid. Perhaps this is a little reactionary, coming after watching the film, then reading a 5* review of it, and feeling the need to over-compensate. However, there is very little in this documentary to be entertained or intrigued by. It really is a line-up of one nutjob after another seeing things they want to see, with no time dedicated to deductive reasoning whatsoever. Also, the sound mix is dreadful, with various individuals muttering into their microphones while the s... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by RyanShanks at 22:32, 04 March 2013 | Report This Post


It`s Not About The Jewish Holocaust, Persecution of American Indians & No Kubrick Isn/t In That Cloud!

I saw "Room 237" last night and it does make you wonder what people maybe under the influence of when watching movies to come up with some of these theories. It takes being obssessive about movies to new and quite frankly daft extremes. More to the point surely "2001: A Space Odysey" is much harder to follow and deserves more clarification than "The Shining". The mind boggles what these people would have concluded from that film. "The Shining" is about the Jewish Holocaust because the litt... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by Cruisecontroller at 16:49, 30 October 2012 | Report This Post


Five stars? Are you kidding??

This was absolute gunk. It's easily the worst film I've seen this year. 90 minutes of insane theories? There was nothing going on with this documentary. Perhaps if it had explored WHY these people were so obsessed with the film. Or maybe asked some of the film makers themselves. No, nothing like that, just crackpot after crackpot. For 90 minutes. The Internet has spilled onto the big screen, and it ain't pretty. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by JohnnyWalker2001 at 01:23, 30 October 2012 | Report This Post


Five stars? Are you kidding??

This was absolute gunk. It's easily the worst film I've seen this year. 90 minutes of insane theories? There was nothing going on with this documentary. Perhaps if it had explored WHY these people were so obsessed with the film. Or maybe asked some of the film makers themselves. No, nothing like that, just crackpot after crackpot. For 90 minutes. The Internet has spilled onto the big screen, and it ain't pretty. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by JohnnyWalker2001 at 01:22, 30 October 2012 | Report This Post


Brilliant

I caught this at the Curzon in Soho last night. The Shining is one of my favourite films so when heard about this documentary on one of Empire’s podcasts recently, amazed it had slipped under my radar, I started reading up on it. It’s a loving tribute to Kubrick and his horror masterpiece which speaks to some very obsessive and slightly mad fans about their interpretations of the films subtexts. It’s really well put together and uses a lot of clips from The Shining and Kubrick’s previous ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by Workshed at 17:17, 29 October 2012 | Report This Post


Brilliant

I caught this at the Curzon in Soho last night. The Shining is one of my favourite films so when heard about this documentary on one of Empire’s podcasts recently, amazed it had slipped under my radar, I started reading up on it. It’s a loving tribute to Kubrick and his horror masterpiece which speaks to some very obsessive and slightly mad fans about their interpretations of the films subtexts. It’s really well put together and uses a lot of clips from The Shining and Kubrick’s previous f... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by Workshed at 17:17, 29 October 2012 | Report This Post


i LOVE that review

i can't remember the last time a movie review made me so excited i can NOT wait to watch room 237 :) ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by bill the butcher at 23:37, 25 September 2012 | Report This Post


i LOVE that review

i can't remember the last time a movie review made me so excited i can NOT wait to watch room 237 :) ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by bill the butcher at 23:37, 25 September 2012 | Report This Post



CURRENT HIGHLIGHTS
The Best Barry Norman Anecdotes From His Empire Podcast Interview
From nearly punching Robert De Niro to the real story about ‘And why not?’

Empire 300th Issue: The Directors' Cut Cover
Spielberg, Whedon, Fincher, Abrams Mann and more take over

Fired! Losing Your Job In The Movies
The lowdown on getting dismissed on film

20 Not So Super '-Men' That Won't Star In A Film Any Time Soon
Forget your Batmen, your Spider-Men and your Ant-Men… Meet 3-D Man (and his pals)

The Making Of Locke: A Filmmaker's Journey
Steven Knight takes us through six pitstops (via Heston Services)

Tom Hardy: A Viewer's Guide
The essential, the recommended, the one for the fans... and the one to avoid

Ten Things To Know About The Spooks Movie
Under the hood of The Greater Good

Subscribe to Empire iPad edition
Get The Empire iPad Edition Today

Subscribe and save money on annual digital subscription

Subscribe today
Buy single issues

Subscribe to Empire magazine
Get Limited Edition Collectable X-Men Art Cards

Subscribe today and get 6 issues of Empire plus a set of collectable X-Men Art Cards for only £20!

Subscribe today

Get 12 Issues Of Empire For Just £25
Receive limited edition subscribers-only covers every month Subscribe today!
Empire's Film Studies 101 Series
Everything you ever wanted to know about filmmaking but were afraid to ask...
The Empire iPad Edition
With exclusive extras, interactive features, trailers and much more! Download now
Home  |  News  |  Blogs  |  Reviews  |  Future Films  |  Features  |  Interviews  |  Images  |  Competitions  |  Forum  |  iPad  |  Podcast  |  Magazine Contact Us  |  Empire FAQ  |  Subscribe To Empire  |  Register
© Bauer Consumer Media Ltd  |  Legal Info  |  Privacy Policy  |  Bauer Entertainment Network
Bauer Consumer Media Ltd (company number 01176085 and registered address 1 Lincoln Court, Lincoln Road, Peterborough, England PE1 2RF)