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The Shining: well-made horror movie or subliminal admission that Kubrick faked the NASA moon landing...?
IFC / 102 Minutes / 2013 / Unrated / Street Date: September 24, 2013
Rodney Ascher’s Room 237 is only as insanely believable as you want it to be. This documentary about the alleged ‘secrets’ within the diegetic framework of Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining is catnip for those of us who have been compulsively watching Stan’s for decades – maybe after the fifteenth viewing of 2001: A Space Odyssey, I’ll just get it… - but the act of watching Room 237 with anyone not completely as in-the-bag for the filmmaker will prove to be a sobering experience, indeed.
Basically, the movie is a nine-part essay about how the veneer of The Shining hides something far more sinister underneath its horror-flick genre baseboards. Kubrick’s guilt over assisting NASA in faking the moon landing (or at least participating in filming an alternate moon landing), tendrils of historical data tied to the destruction of the European Jews in WWII and the genocide of the Native American people – these conspiracy theories appear decidedly outlandish, but for breathless moments here and there, they appear to hold water.
That is, of course, until they don’t. This Shining devotee absolutely wants to believe that there are oceans of subterfuge and hidden hieroglyphics within Kubrick’s deranged vision, but the explanations ultimately offered to back up these hypotheses don’t have any backbone or legitimacy to them. They’re the sort of rants and raves that make sense when exchanged from one conspiracy nut to another, but anyone attempting Room 237 with a level head will dismiss its navel-gazing resoundingly.