Norm, a confused young man, lives two lives, one in and one out of reality. One night, he witnesses the murder of rock video star Madelaine X and feels guilty, as he did nothing to prevent ... See full summary »
Norm, a confused young man, lives two lives, one in and one out of reality. One night, he witnesses the murder of rock video star Madelaine X and feels guilty, as he did nothing to prevent it. At Madelaine's funeral, he meets a mysterious woman in black. Norm then gets a job at a news stand through a Cindy Lauper like girl called Zelda. They discuss the mystery around Madelaine's death. Written by
Blair Stannard <email@example.com>
I first saw this film on CBC television several years ago while flicking through the channels late at night. Some films work better at night when you can't get to sleep. All of sudden they suck you in and keep you awake so that you're thankful you were losing your mind with insomnia in the first place. Other great late night discoveries: "Down by Law" and "Red Sorghum." Check 'em out. Anyhow...
"White Room" is a magical film, a magic which begins with the opening narration which imbues the story with a certain fairytale quality, and a feeling that there's a moral to the story, a purpose; just hang in there and watch it unfold. The whole story is pure fantasy, and perhaps that's what makes the film's imperfections tolerable. Imperfections such as: Sheila McCarthy--the wrong actress for the role; Maurice Godin--when he says, "I love you," it just doesn't work; and what the hell's the deal with that pirate outfit he's wearing during half the movie?
Watching the film unfold, though--that's where the magic lies. With the well-placed voice-over narration, I think there could have been even less dialogue. There are essentially only two characters in the film, but the fairytale quality of the film (thanks to the narration) might be considered the third character, because it's that dreamlike feeling that keeps the story alive, makes it feel more personal and potent, just like a dream, even though you know it isn't real.
That's what I loved about the film. I was living in it while I was watching it. And the place it brought me to was unlike anything I've experienced in a film before. Definitely a unique film.
I watched it several times on video for a few years after I first saw it, and it was a rewarding experience every time. Recently, though, I watched it again, and its imperfections began to stand out a little more, and it wasn't as magical--but it's still a special movie, singular, unique, different from most films out there, and well worth looking out for. Especially if you have an appreciation for late night magic.
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