Room Cover.jpg

Distributor: Lionsgate Films

Release Date: March 01, 2016

Region: Region A

Length: 118 min

Video: 1080P (MPEG-4 AVC)

Main Audio: 5.1 English DTS-HD Master Audio

Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish

Ratio: 2.40:1

Notes: A DVD edition of this film is also available.

 Review Poster

“I don’t want to announce, ‘Hey, you’re about to watch this kind of story, and this is the character, this is what his problem is’ – the conventional three-act structure idea of what a movie should be. For me, it’s a bit like meeting a real person, where initially they’re usually quite hard to work out, and it takes a while before their presence starts to impose itself on you or you allow it to and you start to get a sense of what flavor they have and who they are. Because I want the experience in the films to be authentic, I don’t give it to you all up front. I allow you to work your way in, to fall under the spell of the characters.” -Lenny Abrahamson (The Movable Fest, October 18, 2015)

Room was one of the most critically acclaimed films of 2015, and it was certainly recognized as one of the year’s finest films during the awards season. The film was nominated for four Academy Awards, including Best Picture, Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Actress, and Best Director. It rightfully won Brie Larson the Oscar for Best Actress, and Emma Donoghue should have won for the adaptation of her The New York Times best-selling novel. It might also be said that Jacob Tremblay proved himself as an incredible acting talent, and probably deserved an Oscar nomination in that category.

The film brings to life the fearless determination of a mother and child who risk everything to break out of captivity and embrace their freedom. It has an unusual structure in that it can be split into two halves. The first is an incredibly effective thriller. The second half of the film is perfect for anyone that has ever viewed a thriller’s so-called “happy ending” with cynicism. When a film shows people happily going about their lives after such an ordeal, it seems like a forced effort to pacify audiences. People are damaged by these experiences, and it takes an incredible effort to get over them. Room’s second half deals with this in an incredibly honest manner, but has a surprisingly positive world view as we experience the world through the fresh eyes of a child.

Room certainly puts the audience through the wringer, and some viewers can expect to cry a few happy (or bittersweet) tears at the end. It probably isn’t a film that people would want to watch for a few giggles after a difficult day, but it earns an enthusiastic recommendation.

Theatrical One Sheet

The Presentation:

3 of 5 Stars

The disc is protected in a standard Blu-ray case with the film’s one sheet artwork (complete with review blurbs), and the case is protected by a special slip cover with the same artwork. It is pleasing to see that Lionsgate utilized the original one sheet art for this release (even if one might prefer they use the version without all of the critical praise).

 The menus utilizes a take on the film’s one sheet artwork (complete with changing clouds) and is accompanied by the film’s score.

Picture Quality:

4 of 5 Stars

Danny Cohen’s digital cinematography is given an average 1080P transfer that is especially sharp and detailed in the film’s second half. The film’s first half is less detailed due to the low lighting and there are a few unfortunate digital anomalies that are probably the result of this particular aesthetic. Color seems to be accurately represented (for the most part) as well. Any issues that one might find here are never distracting, and one wonders if the average viewer will even notice.

Sound Quality:

4 of 5 Stars

Room doesn’t have a terribly dynamic sound design, and some might feel that their 5.1 speakers aren’t getting enough of a work out. Fortunately, this is all for the better. The film’s sound design is appropriate for the subject matter, and adds to the claustrophobia that one feels in the film’s first half. When the sound subtly opens up and becomes more ambitious in the film’s second half, the audience can feel the change. The mix remains subtle, but it is really quite an effective way to tell the story. The music is given a bit of space as it moves throughout the channels, but this too is done with subtlety and grace.

Special Features:

3 of 5 Stars

Audio Commentary with Director Lenny Abrahamson, Cinematographer Danny Cohen, Editor Nathan Nugent, and Production Designer Ethan Tobman

Audio commentaries are becoming a rare commodity nowadays. Perhaps this isn’t such a tragedy, because a good number of commentaries are frankly not very informative. A good number of them simply talk about what the viewer is seeing on the screen (very much like a football commentator). These are painfully dull and a useless waste of the audiences time and energy.

Luckily, this commentary never becomes dull. While the participants always remain interesting, the conversation is generally geared more towards story and editorial decisions. It is quite sparse in terms of technical information. Fans of the film will certainly want to give it a listen.

“Making Room” Featurette – (1080p) – (12:03)

This short look behind the scenes of Room is certainly superior to the EPK fluff that consumers will find on many Blu-rays, but it doesn’t quite rise above being labeled promotional material. In other words, this featurette isn’t for viewers wanting to learn about the making of a great film. It is an attempt at convincing those who have not yet seen the film to watch. However, here are some very nice interviews and “on set” moments that will please fans of the film.

“11×11” Featurette – (1080p) – (9:06)

The film’s first half takes place entirely in a small room (or shed), and viewers are given a glimpse of this set as the cast and crew discuss it. It is actually more interesting than one might expect (especially for those who loved the film).

“Recreating Room” Featurette – (1080p) – (4:23)

Room’s set was carried to Los Angeles and re-built as an exhibit for the film’s première, and this featurette discusses the care that went into this process. It is interesting, but I’m not sure that it would be more interesting if one has actually seen the exhibit.

Final Words:

Room is undeniably one of the best films of 2015, and it is difficult to imagine anyone not wanting to add it to their collection.

Review by: Devon Powell

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