Room
R0 - Australia - Accent
Review written by and copyright: Noor Razzak and Stevie McCleary (30th April 2007).
The Film

There's a bit of Julia Barker (Cyndi Williams) in all of us, don't you know. She's an overworked mother, barely making ends meet...barely making it to her job on time. And then rarely getting paid what she deserves. Her home life is messy with one daughter, Jules (Alexandra Kiester) sneaking out and the other one, Nikki (Hannah Nicolas) always demanding things better than they can be. Her husband, Bobby (Kenneth Wayne Bradley) is too distant...she's feeling tired. And then come the migraines...searing pain and flashes of images about a stark, industrial room...
"Room" is her story. After suffering a minor car crash, due to the disorientating headaches, Julia finds herself in the position of stealing from her employer and catching a flight to New York. It is there that she hopes to locate the room in her mind. When she arrives, the dreams intensify. The longer it takes, the worse it gets. So she ricochets from encounter to encounter while meeting a variety of different people along the way. Amid the struggle of reality becoming less recognisable, this is her chance to rediscover herself. Can she find what she's looking for?
This feature is one that is most easily explained as being "one of those arty festival films that people are always trying to drag you to." That's pretty much it in a nutshell. Right from the start I'd like to say that if you don't find those sorts of films entertaining, then you really won't like this. The first fifteen minutes are strong and character based but after that the movie delves into a succession of weird interactions split up with some fancy imagery. At the end of the day, I'm not sure how much someone who does like those types of films will feel about this one...I dare say you'd definitely have to be in the right mood to watch it if you did. I find myself somewhere in the middle, as I'm not entirely certain that the film is an "allegorical masterpiece" like the review on the back of the DVD case (Filmthirteen) tells me...or maybe it just went over my head. It's sort of difficult to tell.
The imagery is acceptable at times and it is well filmed. There is the now commonplace use of Handicam work to make everything feel all gritty and real. And much of the film does ring true...thanks to the performance of Cyndi Williams as Julia we see an internal struggle that is rather captivating. The real problem with it is that it doesn't feel like it goes anywhere. There is no clear resolution...again; this may have gone over my head and may have been the director's intention. That none of us can find what we are looking for. And that, ladies and gentlemen, is what you get in a film of this nature. A chance to discuss and ponder over what anything really means. Stanley Kubrick did it better and he was never really my cup of tea either. But that's what you get here. That cup of tea.
Definitely not something to watch on a nice quiet night where you just want some fun...but you could do much worse if looking for "arty festival types that people keep trying to drag you to". Watch it with some like minded people if you do.

Video

Presented in the film's original theatrical ratio of 1.78:1, this anamorphic transfer is created from what I gather to be the original digital source material. Being a low budget independent film it was shot on DV, as a result the image tends to waver between tolerable to grainy and flat. Some shots appear sharp and crisp while other really struggle especially in dimly lit interiors or night exteriors. Black levels are all over the place and occasionally feature some compression noise. Skin tones appear natural for the most part although sometime veered towards the orange. It's not the best presentation but considering its budget and format it will have to do.

Audio

Only one audio track is include, an English Dolby Digital 5.1 surround track, I was also disappointed with this audio mix. Overall the dialogue was clear and distortion free but at times it wasn't entirely crisp. The track was primarily front heavy with some surround activity mainly utilised for music and minor sound design by way of ambient noise. As far as 5.1 surround tracks go it's nothing special and frankly the filmmakers could have gotten away with a solid 2.0 surround track than a lackluster 5.1 mix.
This release features no optional subtitles at all.

Extras

Accent have released this film with a selection of bonus trailers, nothing else appears on this DVD. The previews included are for:
- "Code Unknown" which runs for 1 minute 34 seconds.
- "La Belle Noiseuse" which runs for 1 minute 36 seconds.
- "A Heart In Winter" which runs for 1 minute 43 seconds.
- "Persona" which runs for 2 minutes 34 seconds.
- "M" which runs for 2 minutes 15 seconds.
- "Bus 174" which runs for 1 minute 9 seconds.
- "My Flesh And Blood" which runs for 1 minute 48 seconds.
- "Heavy" which runs for 2 minutes 39 seconds.

Overall

The Film: C+ Video: C+ Audio: B Extras: F Overall: D+

 


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