Friday, June 14, 2013

28 Hotel Rooms




Written and directed by Matt Ross, 28 Hotel Rooms is the story about an affair between a novelist and a corporate accountant in the span of several years in hotel rooms. The film is a look into the world of relationships and extramarital affairs where people are eager to find escape from their lives at home and at work. Starring Chris Messina and Marin Ireland. 28 Hotel Rooms is an entrancing yet provocative film from Matt Ross.

The film is the simple story about two people who engage in an affair in the course of several years as they meet in different hotels all across America and have a secret long-distance relationship. In the course of their meetings in 28 different hotel rooms, the two endure highs and lows in the relationship they have with each other but also their lives outside of that relationship. Their names are never revealed in the course of the film while they sparingly talk about their lives at home and at work where they maintain the sense of secrecy in this relationship. In these hotel room, the two have sex, eat food, and talk about everything where it is fun at times but also very intense by its second half where a lot of changes occur and the other lives they have starts to seep into the secret life they have.

Matt Ross’ screenplay doesn’t play to a traditional structure though it does feature breaks to play into the hotel rooms they’re in. There is still a sense of looseness in the story and in the dialogue where it feels very real while playing to the intensity of this relationship. There aren’t any explanations into how they met as the script doesn’t need that where Ross is more interested in the relationship just as it’s happening in the course of several years and in these different hotel rooms. Still, there is the sense of progression in the story where this couple endure some personal highs and lows but are always together. Yet, they are tempted to make the relationship so much more but issues in their individual lives complicate things as it eventually becomes troubling whether this secret relationship can continue.

Ross’ direction is very to-the-point where he adopts a style similar to cinema verite with some hand-held cameras but also some still shots to capture a relationship being played in these hotels. While most of it does take place in hotel rooms with a few scenes in bars and hallways. There is still a sense of realism that is happening while Ross does create compositions that are quite mesmerizing in the way he puts the actors in the frame. Notably in the sex scenes and some of the drama that is played while Ross also create moments where there is a feeling that the relationship might fall apart where he knows what not to use and how to present it. Overall, Ross creates a very compelling yet ravishing film about a couple’s secret relationship.

Cinematographer Doug Emmett does excellent work with the film‘s photography to create moods in the hotel rooms as well as maintaining a sense of realism in the different rooms and parts of the hotels. Editor Joseph Krings does fantastic work with the editing to create some rhythmic cuts for some of the conversations while using stylish cuts to play out some of the non-dialogue scenes. Costume designers Julia Caston and Jamie Redwood do nice work with the clothes where they range from casual to more business-like to play off the mood of the characters. Sound editor Steve Ida does terrific work with the sound to capture the intimacy of the rooms as well as some of the more livelier moments in the hallways and bars. The film’s music soundtrack features original music by Fall On Your Swords and Kirk Ross is wonderful as it’s very low-key where it only appears in certain places where it’s a mixture of ambient music with some dreamy guitars to play out the mood of the relationship.

The performances of Chris Messina and Marin Ireland are fantastic as they both display an energy and realism to their performances. Messina as the novelist who is dealing with success and failure as he’s having issues with his own personal and professional life where Messina showcases a man who is more in tune with wanting the relationship to be out there. Ireland as the more reserved corporate accountant who is torn between the secret life she has and the other life as she admits that she loves her husband. The two together have electrifying chemistry whether it’s in the fun moments or in the more emotionally intense one as Messina and Ireland are the highlights of the film.

28 Hotel Rooms is a remarkable film from Matt Ross that features exhilarating performances from Chris Messina and Marin Ireland. The film is an intriguing look into the world of relationships and all of its complexities without giving in towards conventions. It’s also a film that doesn’t try to make it more as it is while not wanting to embellish or exaggerate anything that is typical of most films about romance. In the end, 28 Hotel Rooms is a marvelous film from Matt Ross.

© thevoid99 2013

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