Starring: Brie Larson, Jacob Tremblay, Sean Bridgers
Director: Lenny Abrahamson
Running Time: 118 mins
Room is a Canadian/Irish film about a woman and her five-year old son who, after finding themselves trapped for a long time in a garden shed, escape and, for the first time, discover the outside world.
This is a hugely well-acted, well-directed and engrossing film of psychological torment and distress. It starts in stunning fashion, and contains some of the most captivating sequences of any film this year, and although its final act doesn’t quite compare to the astonishing beginning, it remains a fascinating and very dark drama.
Now, the subject matter of this film is very gritty, and although there’s not really that much graphic imagery shown, its first act remains a hugely powerful watch that you just can’t take your eyes off of.
As we see this woman and her young son trapped in this confined space, and with the boy having been brought up never seeing the outside world, it provides a fascinating story, the likes of which have rarely been seen before.
In that mind-blowing first act, the directing and the acting are simply astonishing. The small room is transformed into a world of its own, pulling you into the film’s unique atmosphere with ease, whilst Brie Larson gives a fantastically distressed performance that really hits you hard, and young Jacob Tremblay excels in a role with a huge amount of dramatic intensity and complexity.
So, for the first fifty minutes or so of this film, I found myself enthralled like no other time this year, it really is that good.
However, the film then takes a turn almost directly halfway through, and it suddenly loses all of its emotional and dramatic power. It still remains an interesting story, as we see the two main characters battle to adjust to the outside world, and the performances and directing remain at top level, but it doesn’t compare one bit to the first act.
Gone is the painfully gritty and unbelievably emotionally powerful atmosphere that made the beginning feel so unique, and in is a much softer vibe that feels no different to any run-of-the-mill drama. Simply put, the film goes from being pretty brutal to being far too nice, and in the most abrupt way, making it impossible to really settle into what was, to me, a very underwhelming (and slow-paced) slog to the finish.
Again, it’s not a bad final hour, but it’s nothing special, but because of the brilliance of the first act, that managed to blow me away more so than any other film I’ve seen this year, this still deserves a lot of praise, and that’s why Room gets an 8.3 from me.