Room 237: Being an Inquiry into The Shining in 9 Parts

“Never less than hugely entertaining, Ascher’s film is catnip for Kubrickians and critics both professional and otherwise.” — Rob Nelson, Variety

Director: Rodney Ascher
Year: 2012
Country: USA
Running time: 102 mins

Photography/Editor: Rodney Ascher
Producer: Tim Kirk
Animation: Carlos Ramos
Sound: Ian Herzon
Music: Jonathan Snipes, William Hutson, The Caretaker

With: Bill Blakemore, Geoffrey Cocks, Juli Kearns, John Fell Ryan, Jay Weidner

Festivals: Sundance, Cannes (Directors’ Fortnight) 2012

If you’ve ever seen, heard or even thought about The Shining, you need to let Room 237 unlock secret portals in your mind to show you exactly why it is one of the most important films ever made. Painstakingly and artfully constructed with footage from Kubrick’s films and many others, Room 237 uses the narration of obsessive Shining theorists and scholars to create a mesmerising and hypnotic journey through the icy labyrinth of the Overlook Hotel, while giving us third-eye insight into Stephen King’s source material. This ranges from the delusional (the moon landing), to the bizarre (the Holocaust), to the ingenious (breaking down the film’s architecture and finding paradoxes), to the mind-bending (overlapping scenes forward and backward simultaneously). The surgical precision with which the film’s layers are removed, examined and shuffled finally results in a sort of transcendental jaunt for all film lovers. It’s one of the great movies about movies. See it before copyright lawyers bury it in a snowy maze. — AT


NZIFF STAFF PICK: Michael McDonnell