‘The Room’ A Post-Modern Masterpiece

The film sensation surrounding the success of the strange cult film the Room has been misunderstood as the glorification of mediocrity. On the surface this is true.

(Link to trailer for ‘The Room’) :


But really this film is a post modern classic which tells a deeper story of male disenchantment in a world of upside down and self centered morality. Not to mention that the rent is too high and the city smells like garbage (with homeless people everywhere).

In the film the protagonist has a cheating no good , not that hot fiancé. She is self centered to the point of having no empathy for anyone. She acts only upon her own dominant whims. The friends and neighbors in the story are all kind of just ‘there’, causing problems with their own moral obliviousness.

The hero of the film lives a romantic and self determined lifestyle, and is moral to a fault. He cannot survive in a depraved , self centered city such as SF. Cuts which people thought were stupid, such as the café ordering scenes, are thoughtfully placed throughout the film to emphasize the shallow nature of modern city life.

The concept of the room is not just the one room the hero bangs his fiancé and kills himself in. The room is a metaphor for the soulless, morally bankrupt city of SF. The long screen shots of the Golden Gate bridge are meant to warn the viewer that SF sucks, and the hero is thinking of jumping off the bridge. The film is meant to channel Camus’s classic novella The Fall.

The viewer is left with the gripping reality that we all have contributed to the death of the hero. As we have ‘torn him apart!’

Empathy and Greed

Two of the most interesting films of the last 5 years were barely released and were met with polarized responses. These films, “Cosmopolis” by David Cronenberg and “Diana” with Naomi Watts as the princess, offer very different portraits of wealth and capitalism.


“Cosmopolis,” a 2012 film which stars Robert Pattinson in a tour-de-force performance as a young billionaire, is about the greedy excesses of the very wealthy, which is contrasted with the 99% desire to acquire some of that wealth while castigating him for his greed. The film follows Pattinson’s journey across New York City in his gigantic limo as he travels to the poor section of town to get a haircut. While in his limo, he has sex with several women, conducts business transactions, and gets his daily prostate exam. He also visits his wife, played by Sarah Gadon, who is even creepier and more disconnected from reality than he is.


Over the course of the film, Pattinson tries to connect with people and fails miserably. Eventually, Paul Giamatti turns up as the man who wants to kill Pattinson. Rather than a life-and-death struggle, though, the last scene plays like a love scene. The 99% (represented by Giamatti) meets the 1% and all hell breaks loose. Cronenberg has made a dark comedy about extreme wealth and about how the rich are disconnected with reality. The future depicted in the film (and the book by Don DeLillo) has come to pass, with a rich business man running the country and mass protests everywhere. The film repeatedly refers to the rat being used as a unit of currency, and that may indeed be where we are headed. “Cosmopolis” is one of the best films you’ve never heard of a dystopian black comedy about how society reveres and at the same time tries to destroy the wealthy; it’s a masterful film about greed.

“Diana,” a 2013 drama/romance that is also pretty obscure, paints an entirely different picture of the wealthy. Rather than equating them with rats, the film shows Princess Diana (played by Naomi Watts) and her lover Hasnat Khan (played by Naveen Andrews) try to use their wealth for good. Diana, for example, visits sick children in hospitals and (successfully) crusades against the use of land mines, while Hasnat is determined to keep working as a surgeon even though marrying Diana would make him famous and set for life. Ultimately, the couple is too empathetic; a little bit of selfishness might have saved their relationship. The film is interesting to watch and very sad because it shows how the paparazzi and the fame that Diana had to deal with ended up killing her. While she succeeded in using her wealth for good, her wealth still ended up killing her.

So basically, these two tragedies of the extremely rich both show how money is not, in fact, the most desirable commodity. Whether wealth is used with greed (“Cosmopolis”) or with empathy (as in “Diana”) it will kill you in the end. Although these two films were not big critical or box-office successes, they are a must-see for students of capitalism and lovers of intelligent films. – A.C.