Release: 9th May 2016
Format: BR / DVD / DGTL
Based on the best-selling novel by Emma Donoghue. Ma has created a whole universe in ‘Room’ for five-year-old Jack, where they have both lived for Jack’s whole life. But when Ma decides they have to escape, she risks everything to give Jack the chance to make a thrilling discovery: the world. .
When was the last time a film about kidnap, rape, captivity and psychological torture made you feel so damn good? “Never,” you say!? Well Room is about to change that.
Possibly one of the most earnest films of the last decade, Room is, ironically, all about hope. It is a film that dares to view the unthinkable through the prism of promise, and tries it hardest to show that humankind can overcome pretty much anything. And it does all of this through two absolutely outstanding performances, and a top notch screenplay by the film’s author, Emma Donoghue.
One of Room’s more technical achievements is the way in which director Lenny Abrahamson, DoP Danny Cohen and production designer Ethan Tobman, create an environment that is tiny yet filled with wonder, an atmosphere that is ugly yet never oppressive, and a world that gradually gets bigger and bigger until you realise just how small and insignificant life’s horrors can become. The ‘filmed in one space’ gimmick seems to have passed Abrahamson by. His main concern with Room is capturing the relationship between Ma and Jack; even going so far as to treat the room as a character rather than a plot device. The director saves his most inventive angles to explore room through Jack’s eyes, whilst maintaining a more claustrophobic and sterile look for Ma’s world. It is a film filled with beautiful and seemingly tragic polar views, and then gradually moves towards a conclusion that will have even the meanest of douchebags blubbering into their Kleenex.
Brie Larson and Jacob Tremblay own every single frame of this movie. Larson carries the kind of guttural honesty seen in the likes of Jodie Foster and Julianne Moore. She is never too afraid to take Ma in varying directions of emotional upheaval. It would be forgivable had she played the more melodramatic notes throughout Room, but Larson regularly forgoes the easy road in an effort to make Ma seem what she truly is; a teenager who had to mature too quickly. Watch as she flits between warrior, angry mum, petulant child, fearful teen, and back again; all in a matter of minutes.
Tremblay, meanwhile, is a revelation as Jack. As the film’s emotional centre, Tremblay is shockingly adept at whisking us away to a place of safety. He doesn’t so much as help guide the film, but grab it by the ears and pull it into unexpected locations. At times this makes the film feel compromised in its sense of willing him to win. But there is a nuance in his performance that feels open and free. It is clear that a significant part of Jack is Tremblay, and vice versa. And who wouldn’t want such an enchanting kid to survive this!?
The few faults that Room does have can easily be forgiven in light of it being such a heart warming experience. It may contain some of the conceit of films such as Rain Man or a Richard Curtis movie, but this is well earned. Room is like a warm velvet cuddle from a chocolate scented puppy.
Film Grade: A
Two of the Blu-Ray’s best features come as a glorified look at the set design – 11×11 – and a more on the nose, Making Room. These two features alone help to show off the level of passion and imagination that went into making such a great movie.
Meanwhile, a series of Cast & Crew Interviews come in the guise of exploring Larson and Trembley’s ‘process’, while also taking an awkward tour around the set with screenwriter Emma Donoghue. There is a cute little one-on-one between the film’s two leads, while the Director’s Commentary offers some nice little tête-à-têtes between Abrahamson and his key crew.
Special Features Grade: C+
Cuddle up with a loved one, and watch it.