Wednesday, May 13, 2009

La habitación de Fermat (Fermat's Room)(2007)

Fermat's Room has been on my "to watch" list for quite some time. Last night I finally gave it a spin. I wasn't wowed, but I was entertained.

Four mathematicians are invited to a mysterious location, by a mysterious host to solve an as yet unsolved mathematical enigma, however the room they find themselves in is more than first meets the eye. It soon becomes apparent that all parties are locked inside and that they all share some commonality. A series of enigmas are sent to a PDA within the room, each with a time limit. If the group don't solve the enigmas in the time allocated the walls start closing in on them.

The idea for this film is very reminiscent of one of my favorite horror films; Cube. In that film a group of people wake up in a cube with doors on all 6 sides, they learn very quickly that some of the cubes are traps, whilst others are safe. They need to figure out a pattern to enable them to escape. Cube also uses mathematical equations to help solves its enigma.

Whilst watching the film everything seems fine and it all kind of makes sense, but upon reflection you start to see the number of assumptions the film has made and it raises more questions than it provides answers. This is not to detract from the enjoyment I got whilst watching it, it is just an observation upon reflection. I like films that work both ways, this just isn't one of them.

The acting was fine, but we are not really given enough time to feel for these characters, nor do we really know anything about them that would allow us to identify with anyone specifically. We are expected to just go with the flow.

There is some great cinematography with some nice use of confined space focus and framing. The music was quite engaging and used mostly at appropriate moments.

I can't help but feel that Fermat's Room could have done quite a bit more with its premise, what we have is a capable story without a plausible motive. It spends too much time in exposition of useless information and not enough on just forwarding the plot or establishing the characters back stories or motives, still, it was entertaining enough to recommend viewing at least once, I just wouldn't run out and buy it.

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