This review may contain spoilers. I can handle the truth.
Warhawk’s review published on Letterboxd:
This review may contain spoilers.
Definitely a film that makes you think. Cinematography among the best I've ever seen, but at the same time I think that most of the scenes lingered too long. It is one thing to pause for gravity and emphasis, it's another to be sitting at a crossroads, not moving and just staring at what is basically a slightly moving picture in a film. The sepia contrast images were just beautiful, and really the whole film is beautiful from an art perspective.
I liked that the film initially brought up the Marxist idea of everyone creating art as the highest form of human calling while showing how foolish that is in practicality, especially in the Soviet Union where everyone is starving. The film followed a very interesting beginning and resolution parallel, but the film barely had a climax. The climax is essentially where they are on the threshold discussing their options. As Kant says, you, as an imperfect being, are completely unable to understand what actions and circumstances would truly bring you happiness. The Room does not grant happiness, it grants inner desire. Sometimes our innermost desires are evil and sometimes they are the worst possible thing that we could have in our life.
However, there are those people in the world who if they were to have their true desires fulfilled the world would see happiness. This is the hope of the Stalker character, to find someone with that quality. The difficult thing is, the world is run by the professors and the writers, and they have all given up on faith. In fact, they have given up on the concept of hope. As my wife said, perhaps we shouldn't be led by people who don't have a semblance of hope guiding their actions, and as a society we ought not to put them into positions of power.
The film ends with the daughter moving things with her mind, and perhaps this was to show in juxtaposition to the rest of the film, that there are miracles out there even if on our journeys we don't see them. The entire film was filled with the suspense that something was bound to kill them, and yet all of the things that ought to have killed them didn't. The Stalker commented on this regularly, such as the fact that the meat grinder kills everyone, the trap Porcupine marked didn't kill them, the Professor going back for his rucksack, or the writer only getting a warning when trying to enter the house rather than being outright killed. This is similar to people not seeing God in their lives, because they don't see how many times He has protected them from harm and how many miracles have been laid out in front of them to get them where they are.
The mother had some great lines concerning life too. There are things in this life that look hard and will bring us heartache. That doesn't mean that they aren't worth pursuing. A life filled with sorrow is better than a life without it, because without sorrow we could not understand joy. It is because we suffer that we can understand true happiness. Even if it hurts to live through, hurt is better than not existing could ever be.
The absence of a true climax was frustrating for me, and despite the wonderful camerawork I got really fidgety during the drawn out scenes. There are parts where it literally became an I-SPY endeavor because even if the scene was to show destruction or the lost hopes and dreams of others, I couldn't take it seriously at times. It's a well-made film, and a well-written film philosophically, but maybe not the best paced film.