TIFF 2015 Review: The Forbidden Room
By now it should be clear if you are ready to see a Guy Maddin film, and this review should not do much to sway your opinion one way or another.
But here goes.
Whether or not The Forbidden Room is accessible, (or forbidden, as the case may be) to your palate is if you are accepting of a film that reveles in pastiche, (as opposed to, say, try to remain its own entity). The Forbidden Room is drowning in pastiche, almost to the point where it is not its own creation, despite being very much its own creation. The big issue hinges upon whether it’s enjoyable, (The Saddest Music in the World though weighty, was less than enjoyable, or at least was for this reviewer at the time). The Forbidden Room has its sillier moments, (the prologue about how to take a bath, with a frequent collaborator of Maddin’s is tiresome quickly), but a scene set in France, with some heavyweight actors (Charlotte Rampling, Udo Kier and Mathieu Amalric is inspired). A three step test of manlihood is also quite funny, and the set pieces themselves are generally quite interesting.
This is a film that knows what it is, playing with form, introducing its actors through text, missed takes and flubbed lines incorporated and woven into the narrative.
But whether or not the film actually comes together as a cohesive whole, (Evan Johnson contributes effects work and co-direction), is entirely up to the viewer’s acceptance of Maddin and Johnson.