Short reviews for clear and concise verdicts on a broad range of films…
Room (Lenny Abrahamson/2016)
(Nb - My wife has said that some plot points in this review could be considered spoiler-territory. I'm not so sure but thought I'd let you know just in case)
It’s a fascinating story. This is a fictionalized retelling of the horrific atrocities committed by Josef Fritzl in 2008. From the outset, Room could’ve been claustrophobic; a suburban tale of resilience and isolation. Instead, Room makes a different call, using the seven-year abduction and kidnap as only the context to build upon. Seen through the eyes of five-year old Jack (Jacob Tremblay), his only experience of life is within this cramped space and his desperate mother works hard to keep spirits high and plot the inevitable escape. Room, through this context, turns a hideous reality into a hopeful and optimistic story. As the blue sky dominates the screen, and boney branches reach into frame, even the simplest elements of nature are worth our undivided attention. The child-like wonder, like the skylight, provides the shard of light that lifts this film entirely, reminding us that life unto itself is a privilege to experience. Brie Larson’s exceptional performance ranges from the trapped mother to the fearful survivor, all while maintaining that core connection to young Jack. Themes of resilience, isolation and the conflict in both the justice system and media are all hinted at (the nationwide interview is shocking, yet it’s only a minor tangent explored), but wisely left to linger in the distance. Families, love and support are front and center, as the warm-hearted focus is on rehabilitation and climatisation. Room ambitiously, and bravely, supports others with their own ‘room’ to escape and, inspiringly, seeks to direct our attention to closure.