Thursday, November 18, 2010

Room in Rome (2010)

I have sought out and enjoyed almost every one of Julio Medem's films, and have been wont to consider him one of my favourite contemporary directors of arthouse movies. Until now that is.

In his first major release for some years (2001's Sex and Lucia was his last really memorable movie), a Spanish woman — perhaps a wealthy man's fugitive wife — persuades an openly straight Russian girl to spend the night with her in her hotel room: a set concocted with the sort of icky grandiloquence you'd normally expect to find in the flicks of less subtle film-makers.

I can't really say much more because after about 30 minutes we decided we simply couldn't live with such elevated levels of ambient pretentiousness.

In a sense this is a kind of sapphic Before Sunrise, and I am sure there will be people prepared to go the distance, who will perhaps encounter in it depth and sensitivity, as well as a measure of eroticism (where we saw only the glibness of art porn).

But this is a movie which lost me before it had even revealed its basic intentions. For having given us only the barest, at-a-distance intro to his female protagonists Medem lays it on way too thick and way too early with Jocelyn Pook's In The Mood For Love-style score, and the drama and portent of this tune served only to remind me how little I was engaged with the characters at this point.

Grade: B- (for the first 33% at least.)

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