You know that theory wherein the creator of a movie, song, what-have-you claims he or she might not actually know what all is meant by their creation, allowing for unconscious influences to have seeped into the work? And then furthering from this, the idea that as an audience, our interpretation of that movie, song, what-have-you can be just as varied but at the same time just as valid as we bring our own influences to bear when we encounter a piece of art?
Well in the ‘subjective documentary’ Room 237, the above theory of subjective viewer interpretation is stretched to its limit…so much so that it renders the film pretty much a futile exercise. According to the five interviewees here: Bill Blackmore, newsman, writer and lecturer; Juli Kearns playwright; John Fell Ryan writer, editor, performer/musician (a man known for showing The Shining forward and backwards simultaneously) and Jay Weidner author, filmmaker and hermetic scholar, there are specific, wildly different interpretations to be gleaned from Stanley Kubrick’s 1980 movie The Shining. The problem is, the clues the above five find are so obscure, never truly match-up, seem to be each person here all but twisting his or her square peg into a round hole that all the audience can do is laugh aloud at their views (which plenty of us were doing when watching the movie).
I’m all for film criticism but not at the cost of picking apart a flawed masterpiece like The Shining and creating a film I can’t see any real reason for making.
Room 237 will open in theaters on March 22.