Room Blu-ray Review
One of my college professors once gave the class a lesson about how the TV show DALLAS helped bring down the U.S.S.R. I won’t even begin to try and regurgitate his masterful, and artful, point-by-point breakdown behind his theory. Whenever I’ve tried to, I get raised eyebrows, followed by rolling eyes. But there is one thing that I’ve taken from his lesson that everyone can at least understand. Sometimes you don’t know what you’re missing because you’ve never experienced it.
The idea that we are unsure of the outside world, or even grander concepts, is the basis of ROOM. Ma (Larson) cooks, cleans, and plays with her son, Jack (Tremblay). He watches TV, colors and celebrates his birthday within the confines of one room. Jack’s only idea of the outside world is a ceiling window and the sounds of an unknown male voice when he’s in hiding. Ma insists he hide while she talks to the unknown male voice. We see the “world” through his eyes and we, the viewer, know the tragic truth, but Jack does not.
Ma knows the outside world because she hasn’t been in the room since birth, like he has. That’s why she craves freedom and is planning their escape, but so much relies on Jack. There’s a certain fear that the shock of finding out that the vast world outside those cold walls may ruin everything. How will he react and will he be too paralyzed with awe and apprehension to carry it all out? But ROOM isn’t about that tension because if you’ve seen the trailer or heard the Oscar buzz, you know that they will make it out. ROOM is an emotionally sapping experience that leaves us hopeful.
The one thing you’ve probably heard the most is the acting in this movie, and yes, I will join the choir and add that it is fantastic. Larson’s Oscar win is well deserved and Tremblay’s nomination is even better deserved. There’s a fine line that child actor’s tow and Tremblay never comes close to crossing the line into obnoxious territory. He’s natural, believable, and tragically innocent. Watching him react to all his new surroundings and family members is in in of itself a roller coaster of emotions.
For those who saw the news coverage and remember any incident involving a kidnapped woman, held against her will, and then released years later, they’ll relate to Larson’s predicament. She runs through the gambit of emotions as a mom first, and battered, bruised woman second. Watching Jack grow up along with her in their imprisonment, watching her thirst for freedom, and then their hand-in-hand journey back into the world we know is a near-perfect story.
Aside from the acting, ROOM is never boring, finding pain and joy in the simplest of things. Director Lenny Abrahamson seems to work best playing with utter silence, letting the soundtrack and facial reactions of our actors work our senses. There is this unshakeable feeling that there’s more that could have been done or that there’s more we could have learned. But without a doubt, ROOM deserves the critical acclaim it’s gotten. It’s universal in its story and uplifting in its ending.
Video: (1080p Widescreen 2:39:1) From the claustrophobia of the room to the vast outside world, everything comes in clearly on this blu-ray.
Audio: (English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1) Once again, the mixing of sounds, dialogue, and music are well balanced, within the room, and outside the room.
Audio Commentary with Director Lenny Abrahamson, Cinematographer Danny Cohen, Editor Nathan Nugent and Production Designer Ethan Tobman: Despite the wealth of folks in on this commentary, it’s a bit dry. It only moves fluidly when everyone is talking at once and chiming in with thoughts and observations.
Making Room (12:03): A good collection of interviews with cast, crew, writers, and the author of the book that the movie is based off of. Not in-depth, but enough information to grasp the conceptualizing of the movie.
11 x 11 (9:06): This feels like a continuation of the last feature as we now dive into the room itself. We get interviews talking about creating the room, giving the room its own character and how the two human characters interact with it.
Recreating ROOM (4:23): This feature looks at a special reconstruction of the room for filmgoers, tourists, and critics to go inside, look around and observe. A bizarre marketing strategy featured on a bizarre feature.