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Fermats Room
UKScreen Rating:

Fermats Room – Review

WHAT’S IT ABOUT?

A mysterious mathematician, calling himself Fermat – after his famous antecedent – brings together four of Spain’s best mathematical minds for what’s advertised to be an exclusive mental retreat – where they can each show off their logical prowess.
Once the evening begins, in an ornate dining room, buried deep within a remote disused warehouse, there are only two rules – they’re not to know anything about each other (each is labelled with the name of another great mathematician from history) and each time they fail to answer a question correctly within the time limit, the walls start to close in on them.
Can they find out who brought together and why – before they’re crushed to death?

WHAT’S IT LIKE?

This is an interesting and oddly effective idea for a low-budget thriller, with a small cast and very few locations.
But somehow, it’s not executed as well as it could have been.
The revelations aren’t shocking enough, the red herrings are contrived and the quiz questions aren’t complicated enough for anyone who can do the brain-teasers in a Sunday newspaper, let alone some of the greatest mathematical minds in Spain.
The film-makers also seem to lose the courage of their convictions, taking one of the key characters out of the confines of the shrinking room.
It becomes less of the psychological thriller it promises to be and more of a bog-standard race-against-time, with the corny twists and turns that come with that.
The characters aren’t explored deeply enough to make their fates interesting and given that the plot doesn’t really stand up, most of the fun of watching this film is in trying to solve the puzzles yourself, but while they’re actually simple enough to do this, they don’t really give us enough time.
It’s more like watching an episode of Countdown – where they’re in an ever shrinking studio.

opens nationwide 29th May 2009

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