Director: Lenny Abrahamson (2016)
Disturbingly dark and horribly tense, this modern day fable is all the more gripping for the love at the heart of its story.
It’s told through the eyes of five year old Jack via Jacob Tremblay’s astonishing emotionally truthful performance.
He’s grown up in a decaying and cramped single room, entertained with tales of imaginary worlds told by his only companion, his mother Joy.
She’s played by the staggering excellent Brie Larson and the pair share a wonderfully warm chemistry.
Larson has been deservedly BAFTA nominated for leading actress and named as one of their Rising Stars of 2016. An Oscar nom should also be forthcoming.
At night Jack must hide in the cupboard to sleep because a bogeyman called thrusts himself into their world.
We hear of him and hear his voice long before we see him and Sean Bridgers is brilliantly and pathetically creepy as the predatory Old Nick.
Joan Allen and William H. Macy provide strong support as Joy’s parents Nancy and Robert.
As adults we can guess at the truths hidden from Jack and our fears for him and Joy make for a thoroughly unsettling watch.
A great deal of this could have oozed from the mind of Terry Gilliam in his disturbing Tideland (2006) phase.
After confronting Old Nick it is Jack’s turn to keep Joy from the grasp of the room’s demons.
Their mutual love is the thin thread of hope to which they cling to survive
The extraordinary central performances are supported by smart direction, scriptwriting and cinematography.
Emma Donaghue’s screenplay from her novel (pub. 2010) has been nominated by BAFTA for best adapted screenplay. Apart from this category and Larson’s acting nod, the film has sadly been overlooked for British honours.
Room was lensed by Danny Cohen, one of Britain’s most illustrious and hard working cinematographers.
Along with Roger Deakins, Cohen seems destined never to win an Academy Award for his work.
Cohen has frequently collaborated with Shane Meadows on the This Is England TV series and his ability to capture grimy realities is fully exploited in Room.
There’s always room at the top for films this good.