Emma Donoghue skilfully adapts her own acclaimed novel Room, a claustrophobic thriller inspired by the case of Josef Fritzl, the Austrian man who incarcerated his daughter in a basement for 24 years and systematically raped and impregnated her. Both book and film avoid lurid true-crime trappings by telling their fictional story from the innocent point of view of five-year-old Jack (preternaturally assured newcomer Jacob Tremblay), born into the cramped captivity he shares with his mother (Oscar, Bafta and Golden Globe-winning Brie Larson), abducted seven years ago. Directed with tactile, close-up empathy by Lenny Abrahamson (Frank), Room establishes an almost mundane routine of home-education, exercise and co-dependence, punctuated by the nocturnal visitations of “Old Nick” (Sean Bridgers), their anonymous captor. A moving, heartbreaking portrait of the mother-son bond, Room also explores the complexity of the “real” world, something Jack has never experienced. Though the book’s readers will know the outcome, seeing this almost unbearable nightmare realised with such care and restraint is an ultimately uplifting experience.
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