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"Room 237"

Never-ending stories


Rodney Ascher's documentary, "Room 237," playing at the Dryden this week, presents some very unusual interpretations of Stanley Kubrick's classic adaptation of "The Shining." Through voiceover, we hear from a number of people offering their explanations for what the director was really saying with his horror masterpiece. Using "clues" found in the film, they see everything from a commentary on the genocide of the American-Indians to an admission of Kubrick's role in the faking of the Apollo 11 moon landing.

Kubrick's notoriously meticulous, detail-oriented method of directing lends itself well to this sort of interpretation. The many theories are fascinating, often through their sheer insanity, and Ascher's carefully selected supplemental film clips keep things moving. But clocking in at 98 minutes, "Room 237" is far too long. There's a lot interesting material, but at a certain point it seemed like overkill, and my eyes began to glaze over. Up until then, the film offers an intriguing illustration of the way in which some works of art take root in our minds, and take on a life of their own.