Reviews - Specialty Releases


Film Review: The Maid's Room

Initially gripping, in a Hitchcock/Ozon way, this atmospheric thriller turns banal and unconvincing in its second half.

Aug 8, 2014

-By David Noh


filmjournal/photos/stylus/1405528-Maids_Room_Md.jpg
With its carefully arranged atmosphere of subtle menace in classy surroundings and delineation of character through class hierarchy, Michael Walker's The Maid's Room initially calls to mind the work of François Ozon, presently wielding the medium with such assured grace. Here, a lovely young Colombian maid, Drina (Paula Garces), come to work at the Hamptons estate of the uber-rich and powerful Crawfords (Bill Camp and Annabella Sciorra) and their spoiled son, Brandon (Philip Ettinger). Given a small, tidy room to herself, she does not stay there very much; as soon as the Crawfords are out of the house, she wanders through it, opening drawers and discovering secrets. All goes pretty well until the night a drunken Brandon hits and kills a local worker while driving on a dark road. The Crawfords lean on Drina to keep quiet, bribing her with money, but when she refuses to refrain from alerting the police, things get ugly.

The movie begins well and you are irresistibly drawn into it as haughty Mrs. Crawford gives Drina the kind of strict household instructions, with a condescending air, that make you wince at her every word. Sciorra is very good as this entitled bitch and Camp also makes a convincing Master of the Universe, who is used to getting things his way, money being no object. Scott Miller's gliding cinematography creates an entire stultifyingly cushy world within the Crawford mansion, so that you feel the basic emptiness of the lives of its inhabitants.

But when tragedy strikes and Drina is taken out of the picture, the film rather falls apart and becomes a predicable what-to-do-with-the-body programmer while striking ever-heavier notes of class warfare, when the friends of the dead man come inquiring. Although there are three of these strapping young Latino workers, the middle-aged Papa Crawford singlehandedly bests and bloodies one of them, causing the others to flee in terror, and this unconvincing moment really throws you out of things. 

Garces has a fetching, quiet intensity, and Ettinger does entitled rich boy lusting for the maid to beefy perfection. The average filmgoer is again made to wonder why rich folk hire such pretty help, however capable. It always ends badly.

Click here for cast & crew information.


Film Review: The Maid's Room

Initially gripping, in a Hitchcock/Ozon way, this atmospheric thriller turns banal and unconvincing in its second half.

Aug 8, 2014

-By David Noh


filmjournal/photos/stylus/1405528-Maids_Room_Md.jpg

With its carefully arranged atmosphere of subtle menace in classy surroundings and delineation of character through class hierarchy, Michael Walker's The Maid's Room initially calls to mind the work of François Ozon, presently wielding the medium with such assured grace. Here, a lovely young Colombian maid, Drina (Paula Garces), come to work at the Hamptons estate of the uber-rich and powerful Crawfords (Bill Camp and Annabella Sciorra) and their spoiled son, Brandon (Philip Ettinger). Given a small, tidy room to herself, she does not stay there very much; as soon as the Crawfords are out of the house, she wanders through it, opening drawers and discovering secrets. All goes pretty well until the night a drunken Brandon hits and kills a local worker while driving on a dark road. The Crawfords lean on Drina to keep quiet, bribing her with money, but when she refuses to refrain from alerting the police, things get ugly.

The movie begins well and you are irresistibly drawn into it as haughty Mrs. Crawford gives Drina the kind of strict household instructions, with a condescending air, that make you wince at her every word. Sciorra is very good as this entitled bitch and Camp also makes a convincing Master of the Universe, who is used to getting things his way, money being no object. Scott Miller's gliding cinematography creates an entire stultifyingly cushy world within the Crawford mansion, so that you feel the basic emptiness of the lives of its inhabitants.

But when tragedy strikes and Drina is taken out of the picture, the film rather falls apart and becomes a predicable what-to-do-with-the-body programmer while striking ever-heavier notes of class warfare, when the friends of the dead man come inquiring. Although there are three of these strapping young Latino workers, the middle-aged Papa Crawford singlehandedly bests and bloodies one of them, causing the others to flee in terror, and this unconvincing moment really throws you out of things. 

Garces has a fetching, quiet intensity, and Ettinger does entitled rich boy lusting for the maid to beefy perfection. The average filmgoer is again made to wonder why rich folk hire such pretty help, however capable. It always ends badly.

Click here for cast & crew information.
Post a Comment
Asterisk (*) is a required field.
* Author: 
Rate This Article: (1=Bad, 5=Perfect)

*Comment:
 

More Specialty Releases

Citizenfour
Film Review: Citizenfour

Documentary account of how Edward Snowden leaked intelligence to the world press. More »

Glen Campbell I'll Be Me
Film Review: Glen Campbell: I'll Be Me

Alzheimer's is given an unforgettably human face here, and that face belongs to a music legend. More »

White Bird in a Blizzard
Film Review: White Bird in a Blizzard

A clichéd indie about a girl’s coming-of-age amidst her mother’s disappearance that, despite a sturdy lead performance by Shailene Woodley, is undone by hackneyed, go-nowhere plotting. More »

Exists
Film Review: Exists

Blair Witch Project co-director Eduardo Sanchez returns to the faux-found footage well and hauls out a bucketful of Bigfoot in this derivative but creepy shocker. More »

ADVERTISEMENT



REVIEWS

John Wick
Film Review: John Wick

Retired hit man seeks revenge on Russian mob in an above-average action film. More »

Fury Review
Film Review: Fury

American tanks fight superior German forces in the closing days of World War II. More »

Player for the Film Journal International website.


ADVERTISEMENT



INDUSTRY GUIDES

» Blue Sheets
FJI's guide to upcoming movie releases, including films in production and development. Check back weekly for the latest additions.

» Distribution Guide
» Equipment Guide
» Exhibition Guide

ORDER A PRINT SUBSCRIPTION

Film Journal International

Subscribe to the monthly print edition of Film Journal International and get the full visual impact of this valuable resource for the cinema business.

» Click Here

SPONSORSHIP OPPORTUNITIES

Learn how to promote your company at the Film Expo Group events: ShowEast, CineEurope, and CineAsia.

» Click Here