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April 2010

Room 36

cast: Paul Herzberg, Portia Booroff, Brian Murphy, Norman Mitchell, and Nicola Branson

director: Jim Groom

89 minutes (15) 2002
widescreen ratio 1.85:1
Ivory Tower DVD Region 2 retail

RATING: 2/10
review by Adam Hartley

Room 36

From the outset this film has a very amateur feel to it. The overdubbed dialogue and sound effects are immediately obvious and do take some getting used to. Many critics have been very kind and given this film incredible praise. This praise lay in areas that in actual fact seemed lacking. For many this was a hilarious film noir but there doesn't seem to be anything funny in it. That's not to say that you can't recognise a joke. The point is that they are made so obvious, and the fact that it's trying so hard to be funny spoils it in the end.

The film takes place in a London hotel called the Midlothian. Here we see an array of misfits' lives entwining, splicing together various interweaving plots along with a host of killings and calamities. To describe the film fully would be to give it more credit than it deserves. The plot itself does sound pretty good. There are cases of mistaken identity in both people and rooms and as it moves along you are intrigued as to what's going on.

In trying too hard Room 36 ends up falling flat. The plot attempts to be excessively clever and is summed far too quickly. It makes the mistake of being overly ambiguous, namely one important character is referred to in a quiet news cast at the beginning which if you miss leaves you stumped as to their relevance.

Room 36 is a very hard film to recommend. For some it seems that is the best thing ever in terms of modern noir cinema. However, it is rather disappointing and extremely amateur in appearance, a point which has been described as 'charming looking' but is in fact just poor filming.



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