Room (2015, Lenny Abrahamsson)
By sticking close to the source material (no doubt aided in this by author Emma Donoghue scripting the screenplay), Lenny Abrahamsson achieves an almost perfect adaptation of the multi award winning novel ‘Room’. Through sticking to the books passive understanding of whats going on, exclusively told through the eyes of 5 year old Jack, this adaptation is rewarded with a harrowing and emotionally charged plot line that works through an artistic styling – perfectly befitting the films difficult subject matter and principle characters.
24 year old Joy (portrayed expertly by Brie Larson) and her 5 year old son Jack (relative new comer Jacob Tremblay) live in a rundown shed that they name ‘Room’. Sharing every aspect of their prison, Joy decides to keep the outside world away from her son, in hopes of protecting Jack from the truth. Held captive by a man only referred to as ‘old Nick’, the pair live in squalor with joy longing once again to feel freedom. Regularly raped by her captor, Joy struggles to maintain her own identity, dealing with mothering instincts and deep depression. Desperate to escape, she conducts a plan involving her son and manages to leave her confines. Outside of ‘room’ for the first time, the film then accounts Jacks interaction with the outside world – under the scrutiny of the media and the inclusion of his unknown family.
By keeping to the exclusive viewpoint of Jack, an aspect that carries over well from the book, ‘Room’ manages to highlight the world in such a manner that audience members become accustomed to whats happening when the character does. Passive but intriguing, the resourcefulness of the books child point of view outlines perfectly what facts should be deemed important for the context of the film to work. Handled with such care that nothing feels force, Jacks interaction with his life and the changes its faces, brings about a level of intrigue to what is being explored in the plots subtext. For at its core, the film is a brilliantly rendered understanding of childhood excitement and world derived confusion.
Although Larson serves as the films main character, the indifferent nature of Jack allows for the mother figure to feel supporting at best – while remaining the films main push throughout its two hour duration. We implore the film to give a reward for our engrossment, and through this relationship onscreen ‘Room’ manages to convey its dramatic moments with confidence at every instance. Through playing off each other, and in a way that is highly believable, the films two leads manage to achieve something akin to the book counterpart – one hundred percent audience participation.
Brie Larson and Jacob Tremblay are outstandingly brilliant throughout the film, and with the sense of compatibility clear between both actors, the film finds an organically sourced audience attachment. This coupled with the directors choice to not alter the source material, and decision to shoot the film in a semi-artistic manner, allows the dramatic strength of the films premise to be explored fully onscreen. Uninterested in flashy effects, or added plot components, ‘Room’ equates itself of all its filmmaking decisions, in a method that presents something fresh to the audience.
Plot – 4
Acting – 4
Direction – 5
Special Effects – 4
Retrospect – 3
Overall – 4