WARNING: MAY CONTAIN SPOILERS
OK, I guess that this review HAS to start with the two central performances. Aaaand…they’re both spot on; somewhat reminiscent of Essie Davis and Noah Wiseman in “The Babadook”, though obviously different. Brie Larson (looking remarkably similar to Alicia Vikander…) certainly delivers a strong, passionate performance and we are left in no doubt that her character loves and cares for her son more than anything. Later scenes also allow her to become more “frazzled” and we perhaps begin to see a different, deeper, more haunted side of her. Of course, the entire film hinges on the portrayal of Jack but Jacob Tremblay certainly doesn’t disappoint. There’s obviously the danger of the lead child actor being insufferable and annoying, but that definitely doesn’t happen here.
A very noteworthy aspect of this movie is the impressive camerawork, particularly the clever use of focus, or lack of, to emphasize the fact that this story is being told from a child’s perspective. The opening scenes were successful in creating a close, claustrophobic atmosphere and when the outside world is finally revealed, we are definitely made to feel as though we have been trapped but are now seeing the world for the first time; Abrahamson’s direction is certainly praiseworthy.
On a similar subject, the story itself is very interesting, really allowing us to experience how a child, who has never seen the world beyond four walls, views the big world for the first time. In addition, the writing is suitably intelligent and clever as well, almost creating a unique language between the two characters and further allowing us to experience a child’s view of an unfamiliar environment. The slow build-up and reveal of how the characters came to be locked in the pivotal room in the first place is very tense, interesting and engaging; it definitely defied my expectations, since I thought that they were both in a kind of “Oldboy” situation!
And of course, the music is beautiful as well. Seeing as how the MVP of Abrahamson’s “Frank” was Stephen Rennicks, with his extraordinary soundtrack, it was no surprise that the music in “Room” is suitably moving and helps to reinforce the themes of the mother/son love and bond.
I’m sure that any cinema aficionado will frown at me for mentioning any negative aspects of this film, not that I actually have that many, but I will say that there was something of a slump about halfway through this film; I indeed found myself slumping down in my seat. Luckily, it didn’t last very long at all and before I knew it, I was deeply involved with the film again.
So in summary, this is a very engaging, grounded, solidly made film with excellent cinematography and spot on performances.