The Room (2003)

“People change all the time.” At least that’s what Lisa says to justify her actions. In The Room people change on a moment to moment basis. It’s as if no single person in the film can keep a coherent train of thought. What they say from one moment to the next is ever shifting. A pressing issue will simply dissipate in the middle of a conversation, creating a kind of magnificent (and completely unintentional) Avant Garde effect.

This is one of the greatest comedic effects, a series of events so ridiculous that hilarity insures not out of any intentional desired effect, but the outright juxtaposition of elements that make absolutely no sense. This makes it the greatest of absurdist comedies, a film so absurd, it’s not even aware of its own absurdity, a sublime and, quite possibly, unparalleled cinematic marvel.

The best part is that the film isn’t some gross out horror movie, but a romance drama. Like all those silent melodramas, you’ve got the girl, Linda (Juliette Danielle), who has to choose between the well to do man, Johnny (Tommy Wiseau), or the dashing younger stud, Mark (Greg Sestero). She decides to play both and while she’s living with Tommy, she strikes up an affair with Mark, professing love for him, but also getting a bit more action with Johnny as well.

One of the great unintentional exaggerations of the film is the bloated amount of exposition contained in this film. Scenes quickly become redundant after the same points are harped on time and time again. Johnny and Mark being best friends is something that quickly becomes a point of ridicule for the audience as the two are constantly telling just about anyone who will listen to them that they are best friends.

And, in a lot of ways, the film reverts back to techniques of films that have long been outdated.  One of the most common structural elements of the film is the introduction of each character in a scene. They must literally walk into the shot, be greeted and, then, when the scene ends they must walk off stage. Yes, that’s right, The Room has reverted back into the stilted aesthetics of silent films imitating the stage play.

And speaking of stilted, for those worried about teens engaging in premarital sex, The Room has an antidote. With a number of awkwardly bad, corny and, at times, revolting sex scenes, this is a film that has you coming away never wanting to experience such an awkward and grotesque act ever again, let alone witness it…unless, of course, you intend to watch the film again to mock it. It also doesn’t help that Lisa is played up as a beauty when she’s rather middling, which is more than can be said for the other partner in the so called “sexual intercourse.”

What the film should encourage is a communal viewing, a fully interactive experience. If the website is any indication, it’s a film that will be in circulation for the foreseeable future. It’s the cinematic experience of a lifetime, the kind of film that only comes once in a generation.  The Room is a film so ahead of its time, it’s actually a gigantic step 80 years back, the kind of amazing, unparalleled cinematic marvel than cannot ever consciously be made or equaled.

© 2010 James Blake Ewing