Sunday, December 25, 2016

Room

Room; drama, Canada / Ireland / UK, 2015; D: Lenny Abrahamson, S: Jacob Tremblay, Brie Larson, Joan Allen, Sean Bridgers, William H. Macy

Joy is living with her 5-year old child, Jack, in a sealed off shed they call "room". 7 years ago, she was abducted by a man, Nick, who used her as his sexual slave, a situation that continues till today. Jack never left the room, and only knows everything from TV and Joy. In order to finally end this dreadful status quo, Joy persuades Jack to act as is he died. She wraps him in a rug and, as Nick was driving him in the truck to bury him, Jack escapes and contacts the police. Joy is released and reunited with Jack, as well as her parents. However, Joy has troubles adjusting back to her home and old life. Still, she accepts Jack and continues to live with him.

A critically acclaimed film, "Room" is one of the saddest and most depressing movies, bravely tackling the unpleasant topic of a woman who is abducted for sexual slavery and is even forced to have a child with her abductor, which should be respected for its sheer uncompromising attempt that does not even intend to reach a wide appeal at the box office, however the film still leaves the impression that it is stronger as a "social issue" than as an artistic achievement. Director Lenny Abrahamson divides the film into two parts – the 1st one that depicts the captivity of Joy and Jack in the room, and the 2nd one that follows their attempts to adapt to their new life in freedom – which are both good, except that the first segment has tension, yet lacks versatility, whereas the second segment lacks tension, but has character development. For such a dark topic, "Room" is strangely simplistic: it would have been very interesting to dwell upon some more complex relationships between the characters, yet they are absent – the only exception is when Joy's father cannot look at Jack, seeing her captor in him, or when Jack and Joy have this wonderful dialogues ("I'm not a good mum..." - "But you're still a mum."). Unfortunately, the dialogues are often banal, plainly written without much of a point except at first glance or the obvious "this is bad" message. The most was achieved out of the two great leading actors, who both give unquestionably brilliant performances: Brie Larson was rightfully awarded with numerous prizes for her portrait of a traumatized victim, yet Jacob Tremblay is maybe even better as Jack, genuinely giving a fantastic performance, acting in a film that was too mature for his own age, and still managing to be excellent.

Grade;++

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