Director: Lenny Abrahamson
Talent: Brie Larson, Jacob Tremblay, Sean Bridgers, Joan Allen
Release Date: 15th January 2016
Based on the Emma Donoghue novel of the same name, itself in turn partly inspired by the Josef Fritzl case that emerged in 2008, Lenny Abrahamson’s fifth feature is the story of Jack (Tremblay), a five-year-old who’s grown up entirely inside the confines of a rudimentarily decorated and electronically locked shed. Jack’s mother Joy (Larson), also imprisoned, has constructed a detailed, childish ontology to suit their environment, in which ‘Room’ is the only real, existing place, and from which they can observe other, alien worlds on their television.
It’s an interesting idea that is dealt with in the most prosaic way possible, playing out a kitsch timeline of trauma, reconciliation and moving on, restating the banalities of ‘closure’ that remain the psychic room in which Western narrative sensibility finds itself trapped to this day. It’s emotive and at times exciting, but its second half capitulation into cliché comes as a disappointment from a director who has hitherto impressively avoided and subverted it.
Words: Oisín Murphy-Hall