I'm going to start this review with a comment I read about the movie on a YouTube video. It simply said "Well, That's a Stretch: The Documentary."
That sums it up nicely.
The wild guesses (I refuse to call them theories or even hypotheses) by the people in the film are breathtakingly stupid. They treat Kubrick like some sort of ubergenius god figure with unsubstantiated claims about his IQ (which I looked up and literally couldn't find anything credible about) and what he may or may not have been reading during the time (again, completely unsubstantiated conjecture).
At two points in the documentary, I remember thinking that the film itself even admits that the "evidence" for claims is lacking or nonexistent. One of those points was when the woman talking (I don't remember what her name was because I honestly don't think the documentary introduced anyone), she mentioned how the layout of the hotel was inconsistent and strange. She ascribes some insane meaning to it, but also says that she didn't draw out the maps she has in her head, so just take her word for it. Another point was when a man was talking about how Stanley Kubrick's face is apparently airbrushed in the clouds for one frame of the movie. He says he'd try and "Photoshop it" (or something along those lines) for the documentary, which kind of admits that there's nothing there, but the documentary also goes to where in the film it's supposed to be and doesn't actually point anything out. This is in stark contrast to the fact that most other things will be pointed out by the documentarians either by zooming in, putting a border around it, or any number of other things. The documentarians couldn't find the thing in question, so they didn't point it out. Because it's unfounded nonsense.
I watched this with a friend and we constantly asked each other whether or not these people had actually watched movies in their lives other than Kubrick's filmography or The Shining, specifically. The reason we questioned a lot of this is because of the weird, cosmic meanings that the interviewees put on the fact that the action and characters were frequently in the center of the shot.
No. That's not hyperbolic. There's a whole section about how the movie, when simultaneously played backwards and forwards and overlaid onto itself, will have characters or action occurring together... in the center of the frame. Then they say it has some meaning to it.
But even the weirdest directors sometimes use conventional shots where things happen in the center of the screen. Why? Because of filmmaking convention. Because it's important to shoot it that way sometimes. It doesn't seem like it's that much of a stretch that Stanley Kubrick, who often has long, static shots of a thing in center screen, would have a lot of those things in the same movie.
There are even times where the people will blatantly ignore things in the same shot to make a point. There's a part where one guy is talking about the stickers on Danny's door and says that Dopey of the Seven Dwarves is the most prominent sticker on the door because it's the biggest and the furthest toward the center. But in the same shot, you can see that the sticker of Woodstock from Charlie Brown is several times bigger and is also one of the only blue things (because of the massive amount of sky on the sticker) in a frame that is composed of largely yellows and reds. Another time, the lady says a poster of a skier is a minotaur and says "there's a hint of ski poles in the picture, but they're not there" when I was literally looking right at the skiing poles! They're black lines held in the skier's hands! If it's not a skier on a poster in a resort in the mountains of Colorado, then why does it reference Monarch ski resort on the poster? And have a skier. And why does the "minotaur" not have horns? She continues on, apparently not knowing that minotaurs are bull-headed men, not buffalo.
Other "points" in the documentary points out a brand of baking powder with a Native American on it. Calumet, specifically. That was given some special meaning about The Shining being a statement on genocide or something, despite the fact that references to Native Americans isn't necessarily a reference to genocide, and the fact that Calumet is a company that exists along with the Heinz, Golden Rey, Libby's, Oreos, and Tree Top, all of which are in the same scene (many in the same shot)!
- Someone inexplicably says that Jack Nicholson falling down some stairs is referencing another specific movie about Mayans where someone falls down some stairs. There's no reason stated as to why it wouldn't be someone just falling down some stairs in a movie or why it wouldn't be a reference to any other movie where someone falls down some stairs.
- Someone states that room 237 is evidence that Kubrick faked the moon landing because the moon is 237,000 miles away from Earth, despite it being, on average, nearly 239,000 miles away from Earth. But, for this documentary, being around 2000 miles off is just as good as being on point.
It honestly seems as if the people being interviewed for the movie don't understand how movies are made.
And as for the technical aspects of the documentary, there are some baffling choices for what is shown when. My friend, who is much more well-versed in cinema than I am, was even frequently confused as to what film certain clips were from or why they were being put over what a person was saying. Frequently, there were cuts to unrelated scenes, despite someone talking about something in the visuals or audio in the scene. Also, there were a great deal of times where the interviewee paused, stopped, or restated a point in different words that should have just been edited out. The most egregious instance of this is when someone's child is yelling in the background and there's at least a full 20 seconds of him wrangling his kid while no other audio is playing.
Literally the only reason I gave this movie higher than a one-star rating is because I gave the movie "Evidence" one star because it made me motion sick (and I'd never been motion sick in my life up to that point). So here's a quote for the box art: "Two stars - Didn't make me physically ill."