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Room 36 (2005)

Starring:

Brian Murphy

Darby Hawker

David Read

Frank Scantori

Jackie D. Broad

Norman Mitchell

Paul Herzberg

Portia Booroff

Directed by:

Jim Groom

Rating: 5/10

Running Time: 89 minutes

UK Certificate: 15

On DVD

Country: United Kingdom

When a film I’d never heard of landed on my desk with a strapline of praise from the Daily Sport on the front cover, I was justifiably suspicious. However, after years of problems plaguing the production, including money problems, fires and the death of a cast member, Room 36 has just received it’s DVD release, so I thought it might deserve a courtesy review.

Room 36 is set in the seedy Paddington Hotel which employs a collection of misfits. Staying in Room 36 is Richard (Scantori), a prostitute-using obese travelling salesman, and, next door in Room 38 is hitman and neat freak, Connor (Herzberg). Feuding newlyweds damage one of the room signs so both read ‘Room 36’, so when Miss Woods (Booroff) pays Connor a visit with a roll of film that could apparently put a politician in a bit of a sticky position, a weird mixture of comedy, thriller and ultra-violence ensues.

This is one of those films where the synopsis is much funnier than the execution. Room 36 purports to be a Film-Noir-Black-Comedy but the only flaw in this claim is that it is devoid of all laughs. The humour is an uncomfortable mixture of Carry On humour and ‘quirky’ characters, half of whom are pretty pointless and poorly acted. Visually, Groom excels himself. The setting and atmosphere – when we are not subjected to attempted humour – is suitably dark and moody. There are lots of nice little stylistic touches and the excellent but rather relentless soundtrack is very reminiscent of Hitchcock’s films of the 1940s.  The conclusion (well, the last five minutes), as all the threads come together, is quite satisfying and leaves you with a sense of fulfilment that the film does not really deserve.

It's Got: A satisfying conclusion.

It Needs: To ditch the 'humour'.

DVD Extras The extras are actually a great deal more fun than the film. Includes feature length documentary about the making of Room 36, featurette about the film-maker's earlier film, 'Revenge of Billy The Kid', deleted scenes with director's commentary, trailers, 4 page booklet. DVD Extras Rating: 7/10

Alternatives:

Psycho, Revenge of Billy the Kid, Touch of Evil

Summary

A bargain bin Film Noir Black Comedy with plenty of style but full of cringing humour.

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