Stylish and ironic black & white film that gets the most from a minor detail. A murderer – an aged, experienced and hard-bitten yakuza – is looking for a room. With a young, attractive estate agent he treks from room to room through the big city. The two don’t exchange a word; the story is largely told pictorially and the dialogue is limited to the absolute minimum. The shots of the quest through the city are occasionally interrupted by flashbacks which show the activities of the murderer. The old man is really looking for complete peace, which a room can’t offer him either. His very specific wishes are also poetic and that has a comic effect juxtaposed with his hard and macho looks. Embroidering on this thin story, The Room gives a revealing picture of urban anarchy in Tokyo. The role of the old yakuza is acted phenomenally by Akaji Maro. Director Sion Sono has stated that he could never have made the film with any other actor; the role is ideal for him. Akaji Maro had earlier performed in the famous yakuza films by Seijun Suzuki. —International Film Festival Rotterdam
Sion Sono (園 子温 Sono Shion, born 1961) is a controversial filmmaker and poet. He was born in Toyokawa, Aichi, Japan and is best known for his movies and avant-garde poetry performances.
After receiving a fellowship with the PIA, Sono made his first feature-length 16 mm film in 1990, Bicycle Sighs (Jitensha Toiki), which he co-wrote, directed, and starred himself. A coming-of-age tale about two underachievers in the perfectionist Japan, Bicycle Sighs settled Sono as a director with great box office success in Japan, and for nearly two years was played over 30 film festivals around Europe and Asia. In 1992, Sono’s second feature film The Room (Heya), also written by himself, a bizarre tale about a serial killer looking for a room in a bleak, doomed Tokyo district, participated at the Tokyo Sundance Film Festival and won the Special Jury Prize. The Room also toured on 49 festivals worldwide, including the Berlin Film Festival and… read more
Interesting compositions, but not much else. It tells a cinematic story with very few words, and in an interesting way, but the problem is that the story is of little interest. I did have feelings of loneliness and detachment though when watching it, which I feel was meant to be subdued on to the audience with the film. A cool experiment in storytelling, but it didn't amaze me.