(director: Joachim Back; screenwriter: Ted Kupper/based on the novel The Room by Jonas Karlsson; cinematographer: Pawel Edelman; editor: James Noris; music: Frans Bak, Keld Haaning Ibsen; cast: Jon Hamm (Orson), Danny Pudi (Rakesh), Christopher Heyerdahl (Andrew),  Allison Riley (Carol), Bill Marchant (Mitchell), Kimberley Shoniker (Shannon), Veena Snood (Psychiatrist), Shawn MacDonald (Bradley); Runtime: 101; MPAA Rating: NR; producers: Luke Rivett, Robert Mitchell, Matthew Clarke, Dylan Collingwood, David Milchard, Joachim Back, Oliver Ridge, Andrew Harvey; Goldenl, but his good performance is wasted hereight Films; 2022)

“Grew more tiresome the longer it went on.”

Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz

Orson (Jon Hamm) is
a smug, compulsive bureaucrat who discovers a secret room in Joachim Back’s (“The New Tenants”) Kafkaesque tale about corporate drudgery. The cinematic adaptation of Jonas Karlsson’s existentialist Scandinavian novella The Room is ambitiously brought to the screen as a workplace comedy by the director. It’s scripted by Ted Kupper as a blend of surrealism and satire, but the blend doesn’t mesh.

The story is told from Orson’s POV.

The mustached Orson works at The Authority HQ and looks down at his fellow workers even if he’s on the same job level. He especially looks down at his obsessive cleanliness freak boss (Christopher Heyerdahl), who makes those under his command wear plastic booties to keep the floor clean.

Near his office cubicle, in the hallway, by the bathroom, Orson discovers a door to an unused lavish executive office. Thereby Orson uses it secretly as his rest area. He feels important sitting behind the room’s large mahogany desk, as he imagines he’s the boss. His colleagues don’t see him as important as he sees himself, and they don’t care for him.

Orson judges all of them in his cynical way. Mitchell (Bill Marchant) is the old-timer who never learned how to climb the corporate ladder, Shannon (Kimberley Shoniker) he finds idiotic for laughing so much, and Carol (Allison Riley) is too busy judging others but she can’t judge herself. He’s most annoyed at Rakesh (Danny Pudi) for being such a sloppy worker.

The narrative questions which is a worse trait: being a conformist or being delusional in thinking of yourself as superior to everyone else. To me it missed the point for what a Kafkaesque tale is about. Hamm does well by displaying a deadpan humor. But the film never developed from its premise and grew more tiresome the longer it went on.
It played at the Tribeca film festival.

REVIEWED ON 8/10/2022  GRADE:  C+