Room 36 DVD
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Directed by Jim Groom
Produced in 2002
Main Language - English
Countries & Regions - British Film
Moody, twisting, low-budget British thriller shot in black-and-white from director Jim Groom. Hit man Conner is supposed to meet MP Helen Woods in a hotel room to exchange money for microfilm, an arrangement that gets badly messed with when a call girl accidentally arrives in room 38 instead of room 36. Were it not for this simple twist-of-fate, no-one would be set-up, framed, crossed, double-crossed or killed. Described by Empire magazine as 'Worthy of Hitchcock himself'.
Length: 89 mins
Aspect ratio: 1.85:1 widescreen
Cat No: ITE1001
Format: DVD B&W
- 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
- 4 page booklet.
“Captivating black and white cinematography brings class to this darkly comic thriller.”
by maxmolloy on 27th January 2010
Room 36 took eleven years to reach the screen and now, at last, there is a DVD too, with a plethora of special features from trailers, commentaries, documentaries and ... Read on
Room 36 took eleven years to reach the screen and now, at last, there is a DVD too, with a plethora of special features from trailers, commentaries, documentaries and deleted scenes. Not to mention a special bonus offering; a 9-minute promo reel for Groom's earlier film, the cult classic Revenge of Billy the Kid - about a Randy farmer's liason with his broody goat - including previously censored footage.
In a dilapidated, sleazy Paddington hotel where the rooms are infested with cockroaches and the residents are as unsavoury as the staff, a hired hit-man with a fetish for obsessive cleanliness awaits a rendezvous with a lady MP and a roll of microfilm in room 38. Meanwhile, in room 36 an obese travelling salesman and part time transvestite is expecting a prostitute. When the number on the door of room 38 is damaged by feuding newlyweds (the husband portrayed by Jim Groom, in a Hitchcock-like director's cameo) the prostitute goes to the wrong room and confusion ensues.
Though its low budget origins are clearly obvious, Room 36, has humour, charm, intelligence and laughs aplenty. As you'd expect from the writers of Revenge of Billy the Kid there is plenty of lavatorial humour and filthy fun.
Visually, the movie is a pastiche/tribute to Hithcockian noir thrillers of the 40's and David Read's black and white cinematography does an excellent job of recreating the gritty, moody look of the period and emphasises the squalor of the hotel and its characters. There's also an original score, by Scott Benzie, which echoes the atmospheric movie music of the era and adds to the tension.
Paul Herzerg is a sexily menacing presence as Connor, the hit-man, and Portia Boorof, as Helen Woods MP, undergoes a gripping transformation from naive victim to violent avenger. The supporting cast includes such British film veterans as Brian Murphy, John Forbes-Robertson, the sadly missed John Cater and the late Norman Mitchell (to whom the film is dedicated). But, special mention must go to Frank Scantori as the grotesque yet ultimately lovable travelling salesman Richard call me Dick Armstrong. With a penchant for wearing women's undies and the personal habits of a farmyard animal, Dick is hardly an appealing character yet Scantori manages to imbue the repulsive individual with warmth, humanity and subtlety. His denouement is a comic triumph and, the night I saw the movie, received a round of applause.
Director and co-writer, Jim Groom understands how to bring a story to life making the most of the cinematic form. It's a highly visual film. There is, in fact, not a lot of dialogue and much of the plot is moved along by what we see rather than what the characters say. He does an excellent job of conveying the atmosphere of the Midlothian hotel with its walls so thin that you can hear a fart two floors away and creaking bed springs announce who's sleeping with who. There's a fabulous use of off-screen noises - traffic sounds from the street, overheard music, TV from neighbouring rooms, guests singing in the bath - and it all adds to the atmosphere of claustrophobia and squalor.
It might not be the most polished film you've ever seen but it offers plenty to entertain and amuse and, in spite of its budget it does so with originality skill and style. Hide