The Forbidden Room, review: ‘A hateful experience’

17:00 16 December 2015

The Forbidden Room. Picture: Kino Lorber, Inc.

The Forbidden Room. Picture: Kino Lorber, Inc.

Credit: Courtesy Kino Lorber, Inc.

Guy Maddin’s rambling, dream-like phantasmagoria is guelling and precious, but there is some satisfaction to be had here, writes Michael Joyce.

Guy Maddin, the avant garde Canadian film maker with a fetish for recreating the look and style of silent cinema and the early talkies, is closer to video artist than mainstream movie maker and The Forbidden Room is like something you might see projected onto the wall of the Tate Modern. Except this has stars, some exceptional visual effects, and you can’t wander off non nonplussed after a couple of minutes.

Maddin wants two hours of your time to show you what may be his magnum opus, a rambling, phantasmagoria of stops and starts, bits and bobs. In a submarine carrying an unstable cargo of gelignite the already jittery crew suddenly discover a lumberjack aboard; next we see said lumberjack in the forest trying to rescue the beautiful Margot from the wolfpack that has captured her; and on and on it goes, stories within stories, dreams within dreams flowing into each other and then doubling back to catch up with the vignettes later on. This is a film that comes close to replicating the logic of a dream but only if this Finnegan is a film archivist whose subconscious is filled with title cards, back projection, black and white, and rocket ships held up by string.

The concentrated visual intensity of it (almost all of the film is shot in close up) and the garish colour scheme makes it a hard, almost gruelling film to get through. I found it precious, garish and twee, a hateful experience, yet as the lights came up there was a certain satisfaction at having made it to the end.

Rating: 2/5 stars

Latest Hampstead & Highgate Stories

31 minutes ago
Hornsey School for Girls

Girls at Hornsey School for Girls were today collecting some stellar GCSE results.

40 minutes ago
Sam White has praised William Ellis pupils

The headteacher of William Ellis school, Sam White, was full of praise for his students today after a promising set of GCSE results.

11:09
High achievers at South Hampstead High School have been praised.

A senior staff member at South Hampstead High School praised the “grit” of students after 64 percent of exams were given a grade of A*.

10:56
UCS school

University College School was today celebrating the second best set of GCSE results in its history, with a remarkable 88.6 percent of exams achieving either an A* or A grade.

06:00
GCSE results are out tomorrow

Teenagers across the country face one of the most nerve-racking days of their young lives today with the publication of GCSE results.

Laura Hirai in action for the Great Britain Under-19 team at the ESF Junior Womens European Softball Championship in Barcelona

Like most 16-year-olds, Laura Hirai’s primary concern today (Thursday) is her GCSE results. But four days after the end of the Rio 2016 Olympics, when the baton was passed to Tokyo and a new four-cycle began, the teenager is also dreaming about being involved in the 2020 Games.

09:40
Wingate & Finchley goalkeeper Shane Gore. Pic: Martin Addison

Filling the well-worn boots of Bobby Smith doesn’t faze Shane Gore – it’s actually a case of déjà vu for Wingate & Finchley’s new No1.

09:11
Hendon midfielder Sam Murphy

Hendon duo Scott Cousins and Sam Murphy are aiming to guide England to their best ever performance at the European Six-a-side Championships later this week.

Most read Hampstead & Highgate etcetera

HOT JOBS

Show Job Lists

Digital Edition

cover

Enjoy the
Hampstead & Highgate Express
e-edition today

Subscribe

Education and Training

cover

Read the
Education and Training
e-edition today

Read Now