The Room (2015) (how it was like to me aka Review)

05May17

After a recommendation from a colleague, got down to watching this movie that was equal parts troublesome and equal parts positive outcome reinforcement. Obviously the title of the movie sets the basic premise of where the major pat of the movie would be shot (or so I thought). I was comparing the flow with that of the movie ‘Buried’ (2010) which had Ryan Reynolds remain stuck in the coffin like enclosure with no positive outcome at all. Extremely difficult to see it through till the end and then some worse.  Movies on the theme of complete captivity for several years have often come about and it’s always been the exit as the final goal or how seriously the whole experience had messed up the minds of those held captive for years with no contact with the outside world. Comparatively, ‘The Room’, induces the right amount of psychological discomfort and a pleasant twist on the expectations of further negativity.  

Spoilies!!

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(This section actually felt like that college project report where you need to make your report fat so you print out all your code as well. I needed the writing practice) The movie starts in a closed room with most furniture cramped together in the smallest space possible. There is a woman and her son (Because he was named Jack, else he looked real beautiful with long hair) and they are starting about their day, where all the actiivities that a normal person would get to go out and do, they do it within the confines of the single room. Like a routine they have got themselves used to (or at least the mom picked for both of their sanity and well being) to stay in the room while their captor would visit every night to bring in supplies and basically treat the woman as his property for a few hours before the kid would be picked sleeping from his tiny bedroom in the wardrobe in a corner and taken to bed to sleep with his ma. The kid just became 5 years old and until before that his ma shielded him from the reality of their confinement by making him believe that the room was the world and everything outside was outer space. That’s the story he found comfort in and he wanted his ma to ask their captor to get things from the TV by magic, because he was never made to belive that things in TV could be real and that there was an ‘out there’ beyond their world i.e ‘The Room’. The woman kept planning her escapes and tried to get her son in on the plan and telling him about the real world and the house that she actually lived in and wanted to go back and give him a good life at. The kid was (at that young age of 5 years) having none of it and found it too overwhelming to believe in a world bigger than the room that they had been stuck in for all his life (and 2 more of his ma’s). There were the occassional fights with her captor but it seemed like in all those years, both the captor and the captive had sort of normalized their relationship dynamic, so much so that the captor had to only be violent with the woman (whom he captured in her late teens and put in his garden shed) just once.  The woman and the kid finally agree upon a plan and the kid had to rehearse his part of the escape plan. Amidst a lot of the whining and screaming (that the kid took all the marks for), he finally got his escape routine rehearsed for the ‘big day’. The captor saw the kid burning up (having fever…not set on fire)  but refused to take him to the hospital. Damn! There goes Plan A down the drain. So the next day, he comes back with meds but the woman’s rolled her kid inside the carpet and cried out accusing the captor that he killed her son and to take him away to bury someplace away from her among the trees. Somehow the captor wasn’t cold hearted beyond this point and was like “Okay, I’ll do It”. The escape works despite a bit of rough start in the form of a bruised knee. The kid did get his exercise in the room thanks to his ma’s regular routine, but it’s just a different thing to apply your strengths as a five year old kid suddenly out in the big world outside it. The kid did get discovered by a samaritan and then the police came along. By a stroke of luck, the kid’s intelligence kicked in on time enough to guide the police with a vague sequence of stop signs and turns that he felt the captor’s truck took while taking him to the place he was found in. Soon after they found the shed and they freed his mother. The woman and the kid went to the hospital before being taken to the woman’s parental home. Out of the close to 2 hour movie, all of the above happened like within first 48-50 minutes. Still almost an hour left but the captives are free. What kind of twist(s) do we expect from here on? In my mind, I’m like “Okay, so the captor did drive away and didn’t get caught on the spot or something. I’ve seen all these disturbing movies and they seem to go to new heights of planning to get back at recapturing or somehow destroying those who got free.” But no. He got caught too and it showed on the news a few minutes later. It felt like wow, not such an unpleasant twist after all. Even this is possible. However, there is a little more to it than meets the eye (literally..no not like,’hello eye! nice to meet you?’). The latter part does show in various little ways including the way the kid keeps wanting to go back to the room (his place of home like safety) and being a little difficult to deal with by the rest of the people that he is now living with at his ma’s home. His ma has to go through the ordeal of giving a TV interview for getting free after so many years, putting on makeup for the TV cameras and having to answer offensively insinuating questions by the interviewer (stereotypical?). It caused her to attempt suicide which luckily the kid thwarted with a shrill cry (that Chester Benington would be proud of). The kid kind of mentally starts growing stronger and he develops the sense of responsibility, which I believe all originates from the bond of absolute love that he has for his ma (who, we learn by this point, had borne him from the captor. Expected but still a bit saddening realization, right?). Along with looking out for his ma, he gets warmer towards his grandma and slowly builds connections with the outside world, starting from the lego bricks that his ma forced him to play rather than the video games on his grandma’s phone to going out to play with the friend he made from his new neighborhood…his new world. Life in the real world normalizes and there are no further surprises. Everyone else is kind and no unkind people pop back in their lives. When will Japanese horror flicks learn to be like this? 😛

My Take

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In hindsight, when I think of the movie, I get the notion that the movie tries to tell less and trigger the expected set of psychological reactions and speculations to the flow of events that get played out on the screen to construct the story that would have gone on within the minds of the characters that were played on screen. We slowly learn about why certain characters play in a certain way. The most refreshing thing being that no one had any monotonous characteristic for too long. No one just kept giving the same expression or performed the same histrionics over and over or for even too long. It is not a fast paced movie, but then it does have a pace compared to them being stuck in ‘The Room’ for the full two hours that the movie was. Do watch it, if you are fed up of horror/disturbing genre movies that just don’t let up.

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