July 23, 2014

This Analysis of Stanley Kubrick's 'The Shining' Steps Inside the Mysteries of Room 237

The ShiningStanley Kubrick's films are some of the most analyzed pieces of cinema, especially his horror masterpiece The Shining. Brimming with intrigue, clues, and hidden messages, Kubrick's 1980 film has been given the royal treatment when it comes to analysis, even becoming the subject of the documentary Room 237 that digs deep into the possible meanings behind the director's cinematic choices, and Darren Foley of Must See Films offers up another engaging video essay, this time on Kubrick's enigmatic work, that explores some intriguing theories on the possible theme of "history repeating itself."

There's no doubt that Kubrick aimed at revealing the darkest emotional and psychological corners of humanity, not just in this film, but throughout his entire career. Using themes and images, like a wave of blood coming out of an elevator, or the decaying old woman (or women, as Foley posits -- but we'll get to that), The Shining is not only rife with scares and chill-inducing scenes to thrill audiences, but clues, signs, and riddles that lead to larger, overarching themes and ideas about Kubrick's views on the human condition.

In Foley's video essay, he digs into two possible readings of the film: the idea of "history repeating itself" and the possible abuse of Danny at the hand of his father, Jack. By comparing several compositions, as well as looking closely at how the scenes line up when played forward and backward (which is broken down nicely here), you can start to see some similarities between seemingly unrelated scenes.

Check out Foley's video essay below:

Analyzing films is never a perfect science; there are surely many theories out there that you don't agree with. However, learning how to think critically about how a film is put together, from the mise-en-scène to the editing techniques not only makes us more adept viewers, but more adept filmmakers. (Plus -- analyzing films is fun!)

[via Must See Films & Filmmaker IQ]

Your Comment

21 Comments

The Shining Analysis #27

How many of these exist??

July 23, 2014 at 2:06AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Tom

Oh jeez. Analyze this.

July 23, 2014 at 2:57AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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nyn

Another fascinating interpretation of THE SHINING!
It's also more credible and realistic than the ones from the doc, ROOM 237 (as entertaining as that doc is!).

July 23, 2014 at 3:48AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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The JuRK

Excellent and very thought provoking - even convincing in parts. I will post this at my Kubrick blog!

July 23, 2014 at 6:50AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Stanley who?

July 23, 2014 at 6:53AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Ben Smith

The guy who directed Transformers, good friends with Steven King

July 23, 2014 at 9:33AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Carl

This video seems to take most of its ideas from Rob Ager, who has written an in-depth, near book length analysis of 'The Shining' (2008). I imagine giving some credit to the original analyzer would be respectful.
You can read Ager's excellent essay here; http://www.collativelearning.com/the%20shining.html.
I have no affiliation with Mr. Ager, I am just a huge fan of his work and I think he deserves credit for HIS hard work.

(Apologies to Nofilmschool, this comment has nothing to do with you, I just happened to see the video through this post)

July 23, 2014 at 9:25AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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lipper

V Renee, date me.

July 23, 2014 at 9:54AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Adam

I think you might have to get in line

July 23, 2014 at 1:18PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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I will fight anyone. (Just kidding, I am not a fighter)

July 24, 2014 at 6:05PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Adam

I must admit, I'm not convinced by the analysis. I have pored over this film an innumerable amount of times, and while I agree that Jack Torrance could have been considered an abusive father prior to the events of the movie, the film seems to tell the story of a man cracking and eventually breaking down, with the previous instances of abuse stated clearly and not implied. Of course, Kubrick's reputation of both meticulous orchestration and refusal to spoon-feed an audience both leave a wide variety of interpretation up to the viewer.

July 23, 2014 at 10:18AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Kalaab

For a cool theory on the Shining I had someone recommend me "Kubrick's Gold Film." It's on YouTube and probably one of the least crazy theories on the subliminal visual touches present in the Shining.
If you don't like the theory at least you learn a lot about the birth of our current currency system.

July 23, 2014 at 10:20AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Couldnt see anything called "Kubricks gold film", there's something called "shining (gold story)" that is 24 videos

July 23, 2014 at 9:44PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Reggie

Room 237 was one of, if not the worst documentary I have ever seen.

July 23, 2014 at 12:08PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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bla

I agree. I love The Shining, along with all of Kubrick's films and I'm an avid doc. watcher, but I could not for the life of me get through Room 237.

July 23, 2014 at 1:21PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Stanley Kubrick movies are more of personal experience than collective experience. At collective level it gave birth to countless articles such as this to fill up space and give illusion of being producing some kind of content. These documentaries are more of propaganda to force one person's opinion on rest of the people.

I wish NFS has something original to say rather than rehashing dead horse articles.

July 23, 2014 at 1:32PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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gult

I wish macdonalds made pizza rather than burgers. Oh well I might go to dominos instead

July 23, 2014 at 9:45PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Reggie

What a bunch of crap, my interpretation of this analysis is that Darren Foley was the one who was abused as a child. Very forced arguments, sorry but I don't buy any of this, specially the part of Jack being homosexual and a pedophile because he's reading a magazine lol for fuck sake!!!!

July 23, 2014 at 11:15PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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JohnnieDarko

The film "Kubrick's Odyssey" by Jay Weidner, is a must see for Kubrick fans that are also conspiracy theory buffs. It paints a very intricate and colorful story of how and why the US government "hired" Kubrick to film and fake the first Apollo moon landings. Jay Weidner carefully analyzes scenes and symbols in 2001 A Space Odyssey and the Shinning to present his case. It really makes no difference weather there's an ounce of truth in it at all, it's a really fun and non traditional "film school" analysis of Kubrick that's definitely off the beaten path. https://vimeo.com/86708751

July 24, 2014 at 12:00AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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I agree with the theory of history repeating itself, but I see and hear so many references to satanism and the illuminati "secret society" more than anything with regards to The Shining. In the beginning of the movie during the credits, you hear the moans and screams throughout the mountainous regions as they drive towards the Overlook. I believe it was the native spirits beckoning to them, yet warning them at the same time, saying "beware of this place, evil happens here," yet "it's beautiful and eerie, don't you want to take a peek?" Chiding them to get closer, beckoning them to go to this remote place.
The Overlook had a rich history of "the most powerful" in America, and I believe that all (or most) are involved with Illuminati, or "secret society." It is where their secret societies joined back in the day to gather and do what they did in secret. I believe it had to do with black magic rituals and the like. At the end of The Shining, as Jack went mad (thereby possessed by these spirits to kill his family and torture and sexually abuse and repeat history), you hear the satanic chanting again (male and female) in the background. It's not Native American chanting. It's as if the hotel is coming alive again, awaiting another blood sacrifice, but a special sacrifice; an innocent boy with psychic ability whereby giving the Overlook power again, thereby making it come alive, having stronger energy than ever before, and making it "shine" stronger to do its evil bidding; its secrets; the past in the Overlook is definitely the biggest enigma, and the heart of it was definitely in room 237. But why, what happened there? Check out Kubrick's movie Eyes Wide Shut, as he delves into the underworld of secret illuminati society and black masses with all the wealthy in America. I think it has a weird connection somehow, it's too creepy.

March 11, 2016 at 2:47PM

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April 17, 2017 at 1:03PM

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