Room (2015)

The setup of Room, a disarmingly interior story from its claustrophobic first half to the surprising second half, is how a mother (Brie Larson) and her young son (Jacob Tremblay) have to survive in a confined space.

An unusual opening sequence gradually establishes a narrative framework of kidnap and incarceration, not dissimilar to those in films such as The Collector (1965) and Michael (2011).

But director Lenny Abrahamson and screenwriter Emma Donoghue (adapting from her own novel) opt for a different approach.

To fully reveal what that is would unleash all kinds of spoilers, but there is an emphasis here on survival, complex emotions, trauma and readjusting to environments.

Whilst the story could have descended into daytime mush, Abrahamson and his team skilfully tread a fine line of raw honesty, then lace it with knots of fear, anger, grief, hope and love.

Larson impressed in Short Term 12 (2013), but here she really excels and was well deserving of her Oscar for Best Actress. Yet, even she was slightly upstaged by the young Tremblay, who gives one of the greatest child performances of recent decades.

Not only does he manage the difficult nature of the project with considerable aplomb but shows astonishing maturity for his age, without resorting easy sentiment, which the script and direction never allow.

In supporting roles, Joan AllenWilliam H. MacySean Bridgers and Tom McCamus are all solid, but the chemistry between Larson and Tremblay is what ultimately powers this film.

In a year of quality dramas (Spotlight, The Big Short, The Revenant and Brooklyn), this was perhaps the most emotionally draining. Yet, there was a redemptive quality about Room that made it particularly special.

Room in out now on DVD, Blu-ray and VOD from Studiocanal

> Buy Room on Blu-ray or Amazon Video
> Reviews of Room at Metacritic