Bringing you honest reviews of recent releases
Brie Larson – Ma
Jacob Tremblay – Jack
Sean Bridgers – Old Nick
Just a few seconds in to Room, my first thought was wondering how they would escape. I sat watching the story begin, intrigued by this thought. Which although exciting, put a dampner on the movie also; a good 90% of the audience must have already known how Room progresses – the trailer clearly depicts how Ma and Jack escape their prison and go out into the ‘real world’. We all know how it’s going to pan out. Like Carol (a little while ago): you know the women are going to get together, you’re just waiting for it to happen.
And yet although I could foresee the plot I have to say I enjoyed every minute of Room, as it became one of my top movies of 2016 so far.
(yes I know we’re only at the end of January).
Room swamps the viewer in a claustrophobic atmosphere. You literally sit watching two people in one room for a good fifty minutes as they perform very limited actions such as sleeping, eating, stretching exercises on the floor and reading books. They share everything together – the bath, the rug, etc. and the fact the child has to take just two or three steps to enter his bedroom (which is a wall cupboard) is harrowing, and I never suffer claustrophobia, but even I felt slightly unnerved by the tightness. Larson and little Tremblay share such a brilliantly natural on-screen chemistry that I was more captivated by what they got up to – and surprised I wasn’t sitting with my arms folded, bored by observing two people shuffling around a small room. The pair display a very close mother-son relationship so natural in performance that I felt totally convinced the entire time. Believable stuff, I can’t fault them.
What I liked most about Room was how it didn’t spiral into a lengthy, boring feature. Some movies do this which is painful. The scenes are snappy and run nicely considering the setting / situation, and I felt entertained all the way through. Added to this is the fact Jack narrates his discoveries of the outside world at various points, which is very cute – listening to him describe things like the sky and clouds, animals, food, people’s faces. I actually found myself smiling at points – not just at Jack, but at other things. I was engrossed in this strange story, the concept of being trapped and escaping most enjoyable. It wasn’t all as dark as you’d think.
My biggest question during the scenes where Ma and Jack were held in the small room, was why she didn’t bother trying to smash the skylight.
Small though it was, a glass square was cut into the ceiling to let light in – obviously. But neither person tries to break it; albeit holding Jack up to show him the leaves outside at one point.
If that was me, I would have stood on something to reach it and then try to chisel away at the glass until I broke through (she did have seven years to do this).
Sadly though, it was a case of standing staring up at it longingly and the occasional screaming at the walls to see if any neighbours could hear them.
Room is a fresh stab at drama. It is as artistic as it is dramatic, blending these two elements perfectly to create an entertaining watch. I assumed from the trailer that it would be a load of weird camera angles and swirling skies as the director tried to offload as much arthouse-style expression as he possibly could, but I was pleasantly surprised by this movie.
It runs as intriguing drama from beginning to end, whilst throwing in a dash of artistic flair very occasionally; a prime example being when little Jack exits the room and discovers the outside world from the back of a car. I could almost feel the emotion displayed, it was very powerful.
Plus – I was nicely on edge during this scene. It was fantastic bit of tension, I even heard someone in the audience cry out.
The winning element for me was the director’s ability to keep me in awe during certain scenes, by use of intimate and emotional moments between mother and child in a confined space. She clearly loves her child and will do anything to help him escape – which comes across so strongly, and so warmly. I also liked how Room became so dramatic even though it was just two people in one room. Brillint dynamics between the pair.