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Blu-ray Review: Room – “poignant, devastating and ultimately uplifting”

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On the back of Brie Larson’s wonderful Oscar win for Best Actress, Room, Lenny Abrahamson’s powerful story about the abduction and lengthy imprisonment of Larson’s teenage character, Joy, is as utterly harrowing on a re-watch as it is engaging now downgraded to the small screen.

At the centre of the adaptation of Emma Donoghue’s novel are Ma (Larson’s Joy) and her 5-year-old son, Jack (the sensational Jacob Tremblay). The pair live in a single, constantly locked, sound-proofed space that Jack affectionately refers to as ‘room’. The innocence displayed here, as well throughout the film, is rather chilling; mainly due to us, the audience, knowing the sinister reasons they’re confined to room, while also seeing things from the perspective of a naive child who was born into this hellish captivity and knows no different.

What’s interesting with this type of story is, despite the title and initial focus on this one location, the whole thing’s not exclusively set in room. Whereas some films of this ilk will stick to its single-locale, a large portion and indeed emphasis of this tale is what happens after room – beyond what keeps them prisoner, we’re dragged through the process of how life inevitably controls them when eventually they become freed.

In short, no matter if it’s the second or third time of watching Room, you will get as much out of the characters’ plight as you did during that intense and memorable first experience.  It’s a beautifully crafted indie movie that doesn’t rely on big budgets or lavish spectacle to create an atmospheric, delicately directed narrative we see on-screen. It’s simply one of the best films of 2016, and one that demands to be seen rather than have it explained or simply recommended to you.

Room will leave you emotionally exhausted. It’s poignant, devastating and ultimately uplifting, especially when the end credits roll. You feel as if you’ve been on a journey yourself; coping with and discovering for the first time a previously unexplored existence outside of room, in a world that’s not always as forgiving and accommodating as you’d think.

Room is available on DVD & Blu-ray now.

Words: Mike Williams

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