Review: Chatroom

Come on! Come on, get personal

This film is dreadful, misguided and utterly forgettable. A risible attempt at constructing a psychological thriller that falls flat on its face.

It never builds a head of steam and leads to an end that’s easily telegraphed. For a thriller it’s devoid of any thrills or tension. At its worst it’s an almost amateur attempt at filmmaking.

Based on Enda Walsh’s play it sees five teenagers introduced to each other in a chatroom but when one shows their darker side it potentially threatens the lives of the others.

Where Chatroom fails miserably is in depicting the relationships between each character. They’re petulant, annoying and apparently without an active brain cell. There is an interesting idea that teenagers – if given anonymity and the opportunity – will indulge their whims and desires in an environment where the consequences are not immediate but it’s woefully executed.

Online is a space seen as refuge from their ‘normal lives’, where people can reveal themselves to others without being judged. This would be an interesting approach if only Chatroom wasn’t so petty and the characters concerned with being so thoroughly nasty.

Emily (Hannah Murray) wants her parents to stop arguing, Mo (Daniel Kaluuya) fancies his friend’s eleven year old sister (the character is around seventeen), Eva (Imogen Poots) dislikes her friends, Jim (Matthew Beard) feels he’s the reason his father left and William (Aaron Johnston) is a dick. They’re all acting out because they hate the world. They’re cliches before a quarter of the film is done.

The way a character manipulates others is beyond belief, somehow completely upending their mental state by writing a few lines in a chatroom. Who would buy into such nonsense, especially from someone who barely knows anything about their lives? This is a film that portrays teenagers as weak, needy souls, exempt from any common sense.

It doesn’t help that some of the subplots don’t stick, while others are resolved far too easily, cheapening the relationships between each character. It’s astonishing how bad it is, especially when it’s filled with so many exciting young British actors.

Nakata’s attempts to differentiate the online world and the real world is probably the only successful thing in the film, the colours in the real world are dull while the online space is colourful and vibrant. It’s the only real success in the film.

It’s a waste of time that trips up in its adaptation from a play (a medium the characters seem better suited to). Tragically bad.

3/10

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Posted on 04/01/2011, in Reviews and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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