'Room 304'

A heavy dose of Danish miserablism masquerading as a thriller.

A heavy dose of Danish miserablism masquerading as a thriller, attenuated multistrand ensembler “Room 304″ unfolds over three days at an unnamed Copenhagen hotel where some staff and guests turn to sex and violence to ameliorate past traumas. Despite the involvement of known thesps and technicians in Birgitte Staermose’s feature helming debut, viewers are more likely to check out than in.

After a gunshot kicks off the action, the multilingual narrative jumps back in time to follow the intersecting lives of numerous troubled characters. Hotel manager Kasper (Mikael Birkkjaer) carries on with his married deputy (Stine Stengade) while his wife (Trine Dyrholm) frets at home. Meanwhile, Spanish stewardess Teresa (Ariadna Gil) fails to find a decent sexual partner in the lobby bar and Kosovar dishwasher Agim (Luan Jaha) abandons a gun after trying to avenge the long-ago rape of his wife (Ksenija Marinkovic). A Filipino maid (Lourdes Faberes) discovers the weapon and brings it to the attention of tightly wound receptionist Martin (David Dencik). Overly contrived screenplay by ultra-prolific Kim Fupz Aakeson fails to provide a rooting interest in any of the characters. Zagreb-shot pic’s visual style stresses the claustrophobic.

Room 304

Denmark-Croatia

Production

An SF Film release (in Denmark) of an Alphaville Pictures Copenhagen, Main Frame Prods. production with support from the Danish Film Institute, Croatian Audiovisual Center, Media, Nordisk Film ShortCut, Mainstream, YLE/FST5. (International sales: Level K, Copenhagen.) Produced by Jesper Morthorst. Executive producers, Tine Grew Pfeiffer, Christoffer Boe. Co-producers, Igor A. Nola, Suza Horvat. Directed by Birgitte Staermose. Screenplay, Kim Fupz Aakeson.

Crew

Camera (color/B&W), Igor Martinovic; editor, Anne Osterud; music, Jocelyn Pook; production designer, Peter Grant. Reviewed at Karlovy Vary Film Festival (competing), July 7, 2011. Running time: 88 MIN.

With

Mikael Birkkjaer, Stine Stengade, David Dencik, Luan Jaha, Ariadna Gil, Lourdes Faberes, Ksenija Marinkovic, Trine Dyrholm, Magnus Krepper, Leon Lucev, Ivo Gregurevic. (Danish, English, Spanish, German, Albanian, Swedish, Croatian, Tagalog dialogue)

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