Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
Actors: Alejo Sauras, Lluis Homar, Santi Millan
Director: Luis Piedrahita;Rodrigo Sopena
Genres: Indie & Art House, Horror, Mystery & Suspense
ONE ROOM. FOUR GENIUS MINDS. — TOGETHER, THEY MUST THINK INSIDE THE BOX... OR DIE. — Four famed mathematicians, all strangers to one another, are invited to the remote home of a mysterious man known only as Fermat . Once the... more »
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A four-star room on a 2-star DVD
Alex Faber | Northern NJ United States | 11/15/2009
(4 out of 5 stars)
"This Spanish thriller is clearly influenced by the movie "Saw," but brings more intelligence and many twists to the table. As the movie begins, four people who are skilled mathematicians receive a cryptic letter that leads them to an isolated building wherein they soon find themselves trapped, with walls that start to close in on them that can only be stalled by solving a variety of complex problems. Before too long, we begin to learn more about the backgrounds of the people involved, their complex connections, and the truth behind their captor in twists and reveals that are skillfully and increasingly tantalizingly dispersed to us. The movie features a taut pace so that, while the majority of the movie takes place in a single room, it never gets stale or tiresome, and while there are a few plot holes, the characters are well-defined and the structure of the story is strong, with a fairly satisfying ending (complete with a final wink to the audience).
Also, as the other reviews here have noted, while the people recruited in the movie specialize in mathematics, the challenges they're given to solve are not based in math, but more so in logic and probability. Yet, while some have taken issue with this, I think it makes complete sense, as math is not solely a field of numbers and the like, but deals more generally with problem-solving, logistics, probabilities, strategies, connections, and so on, and all of the problems they're given fall within these realms (we even see one of the people in the room playing chess in an early scene). Secondly, and more obviously, giving these people logic-based questions and challenges allows us to try to put our own intellects and abilities to the test rather than excluding us from the battle of wits.
The movie is presented in Spanish audio with English subtitles (there is no English audio option), and the DVD comes in a standard black case with cover artwork but no chapter insert. Also, the DVD itself is frustrating to play, as the multitude of previews that play before the menu appears can be skipped on an individual basis, but you cannot bypass them all with the "Menu" button.
While not the best DVD, the movie itself, though imperfect, is strong enough to keep your attention and even warrant multiple viewings. Thanks for reading."
Overpromises and underdelivers, and how
Ashish Kumar | Singapore | 10/14/2009
(1 out of 5 stars)
"This film is as pretentious as you can get - the concept is great, but the execution is dumber than dumb. Mathematicians surely wouldn't be tested by juvenile riddles of the kind one gets on forwarded emails. The device of a shrinking room is fine, but again, an event in the end seems to violate the basics of mechanics.
I started watching the movie with high hopes, thinking it might be on the same level as "The Oxford Murders" which I am half way through. The point is not that the movie needs to have more arcane mathenatics - that would make it too limited. It's just that it should be consistent. If the people involved are great mathematicians, they should be solving complex stuff.
So much potential, one fatal flaw.
Robert P. Beveridge | Cleveland, OH | 01/15/2010
(3 out of 5 stars)
"Fermat's Room (Luis Piedrahita and Rodrigo Sopena, 2007)
I really, really wanted to love Fermat's Room, which from the description sounded like an intriguing Spanish mix of Cube and Saw. And to some extent it is, though it contains neither the panache nor the originality of either of those movies.
The plot is simple: A guy calling himself Fermat (El Laberinto del Fauno's Federico Luppi) invites four mathematicians to a dinner in a mansion on an island in the middle of nowhere. They are Hilbert (Broken Embraces' Lluis Homar), Galois (H6: Diary of a Serial Killer's Alejo Sauras), Oliva (well-known Spanish TV actress Elena Ballesteros), and Pascal (Nobody's Perfect's Santi Millan). After dinner, Fermat is called away, but invites the four to stay and enjoy the bar. Soon after, however, they find themselves unable to get out. Fermat has left his cell phone, seemingly by accident, but it receives a text obviously meant for the group with a mathematical puzzle. When they haven't solved it in the specified time limit (one minute), the walls begin to close in on them. Suddenly, and quite obviously, all is not what it seems; how many of these mathematicians are actually strangers? Was Fermat truly the architect of this game, or is someone else lurking behind the scenes? And, above all, how are they going to get out before being crushed like bugs?
My biggest problem with the movie is my biggest problem with a lot of movies like this (and its lack is one of the things that holds Cube so near and dear to my heart): the logic puzzles that are stumping these mathematicians can be found in almost any book of logic puzzles you've ever picked up at the bookstore, not to mention a ton of puzzle-based videogames (for example, there's the old chestnut that begins "one man always tells the truth, and one man always lies..."). Pascal even calls the first one "infantile". When I heard that, I held out a little hope that the puzzles would actually get to a point where they would challenge a couple of math professors and a couple of whiz kids, but they stayed at the same level of "puzzles you work out on a lazy Saturday afternoon when you're twelve". The idea of four supposedly great minds being befuddled by these is enough to kill any shred of believability the film has.
On the other side of the coin are the things the movie does right, which in its defense is almost everything else. Aside from the rather slow setup scenes, the pace is dead-on, and the actors all perform capably (though there's one scene of unintentionally hilarious overacting from Ballesteros). If you can see your way past the pedantry of the silly puzzles, all of which you will solve long before the mathematicians do, this is a cracking little suspense film without the gore of either of its most obvious predecessors, which may make it appealing to those who avoided both because of the gore factor. In any case, if you're a fan of this sort of puzzle films, you should probably see this. Just prepare to be disappointed in the puzzles themselves. ***