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TIFF Canada’s Top Ten Review: The Forbidden Room (2015) ★★★★


Some films have an effect of sleeping pills; after taking it you don’t want to wake up until it ends. But a few of them has, if I can compare it with the drug, the ability to make you lose yourself somewhere in atmosphere, after which you find it difficult to locate your whereabouts. Once it happens, you sit tight and wait until the film ends, without having a clue of what happened there. Having said that, Guy Maddin’s The Forbidden Room will make you feel forbidden throughout the film. But if you think I am here to write a negative review, then you, my Mr. Reader, are absolutely mistaken. My intention is to make you aware before you start watching it. Because if you’re one of those who usually leaves the auditorium before the movie ends due to difficulty in following the plot, or because you were not convinced with the characters, then my advice to you is to watch something else. As this one is not intended for everyone to watch, not at all.

The story begins with a never-before-seen woodsman who mysteriously appears aboard a submarine that’s been trapped deep under water for a long time. As the terrified crew makes its way through the dark and empty corridors, they find themselves on a queer journey into the cause of their darkest fears. The voyage begins with Cesare (Roy Dupuis), who dreams of rescuing the love of his life, Margot (Clara Furey), who is kidnapped by the strange individuals. But before our hero reaches the logical culmination of his saga, you will find yourself into sixteen more stories that more or less are connected to each other.

One of the strange stories is where a man forgets to buy a gift for his wife, and collects some presents from his collection. In order to cover up the disappearance of the original collection, he accuses his servant of robbery and kills him for that. But the chaos begins afterwards, when a man decides to switch his place with the poor servant, who no longer can defend himself. But if you think the story ends there, then the big surprise comes right after, when the servant’s big moustache starts seeing its own dream. Now imagine how many more madnesses you need to witness before the film finally ends. Because sometime in the middle you will certainly lose touch with the real world, as THE FORBIDEN ROOM will transfer you into a creepy, strange, and unexplainable world of imaginations you will find hard to escape.

Guy Maddin and Evan Johnson as directors do a fine job here, creating an interesting atmosphere where the surreal world takes over a sane one. It has an ability to bring back the old era, while the big ensemble of the cast with some big names delivers unquestionable performance. However, only a patient viewer will be rewarded after spending over two hours of your life: the hours you won’t wish to get back. However, getting back to the rewarding part, the one thing you will certainly find useful from THE FORBIDDEN ROOM is how to take a proper bath. No kidding! It gives you an insight explanation of why and how to take a bath in order to enjoy the bath-taking process thoroughly!

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