Room For One More? 

Room 237, the most bizarrely entertaining film about a film, is not to be missed

I've checked into Room 237 twice already and have walked away with an increasing sense of incredulity and an equal level of pure joy. I look forward to my third visit. This you-have-to-see-it-to-believe-it thesis of a film bundles the frolic of moviemaking, an attraction to the macabre and the sheer genius of Stanley Kubrick into 102 glorious minutes.

Once upon a time, I thought I was a pretty big fan of Kubrick. That all changed Sept. 13, 2012, as I squeezed into a jewel box of a movie theater in Toronto for the world premiere of Room 237. I was wedged in with hundreds of folks who define fanaticism when it comes to the iconic director of 2001: A Space Odyssey, A Clockwork Orange and The Shining.

"OK, is there anyone here who has never seen the The Shining?" a host from the Toronto International Film Festival asked. The audience roared with laughter and no hands went up.

"How many here have seen the movie more than five times?" Almost every hand went up (including my own).

"How many have seen The Shining more than 10 times?" The majority of hands stayed up. The audience began giggling again.

"Twenty times? Thirty times?" More than 100 hands stayed in the air. I had clearly wandered into Kubrick's personal Twilight Zone.

Rest assured, you need only have seen The Shining once to step into the hall of mirrors that is Room 237--which refers to the mysterious room at the center of the cult film. This new documentary introduces us to a number of people who see something else when they watch The Shining. Some insist that it's about the Holocaust. Others say it holds key indicators to the genocide of American Indians. And someone else insists that 237 refers to the 237,000-mile distance to the moon and that Kubrick helped the U.S. government stage the Apollo 11 moon landing mission using the old set from 2001: A Space Odyssey.

Don't worry; none of these gems are spoiler alerts. Room 237 is packed with wonder.

"It's not just a documentary," director Rodney Ascher told me in Toronto. "This film is about an obsessive-compulsive director."

Is it ever. And the film is a hoot because everyone involved takes himself or herself so seriously.

"For the last two years of my life, I submerged myself into an incredibly deep rabbit hole to make this movie," said Ascher. "But come on inside the hole with me. There's plenty of room."

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Room 237
Rated NR · 102 minutes · 2012
Director: Rodney Ascher
Producer: Tim Kirk
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