In Vichy France one woman's castle becomes her prison
The story of "One Room Castle" is austere in its simplicity. A young Jewish woman fleeing the Nazis finds herself trapped in the basement of a French county château and struggles to survive. The film suffers from some near crippling faults having to do with the narrative structure of the basic story. It is not clearly established how the young woman, Ruth, becomes locked in basement, nor is the composition of film crafted adeptly enough so as to impart an audience with sense of satisfaction after viewing it. But, despite these faults, "One Room Castle" is an amazing piece of work which approaches pure cinema. Filmed in France and Detroit it is exquisitely shot, expertly directed, and, looking over the above mentioned shortcomings intelligently written. But what is most exceptional in this film is the staggering artistry of Erin Noble in the lead role as Ruth Erd. 90% of the film is her alone trapped in the château basement, and excluding brief voiceovers, dialogue less. In the hands of a lesser talent this would be a recipe for certain disaster, but where the vast majority would fail, Erin Noble triumphs. Sadly, while a beautiful to watch and artfully crafted, at its core, "One Room Castle" is a hollow film, and it is only Erin Noble's tour-de-force performance which stays it from being dismissed as such.
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