Despite a few moments of creativity and excitement, The Immaculate Room is overwhelmingly predictable both in its story and its message.
The concept of the ‘Immaculate Room’ is simple – you stay in the room for fifty days, and you leave with five million dollars in cash. No phones, no entertainment, no access to the outside world – just you and your partner, alone with no company other than the mysterious voice of the room. And whilst it might seem like a seemingly easy task, protagonists Mike (Emile Hirsch) and Kate (Kate Bosworth) prove that even the strongest of wills can be bent and corrupted by the crushing weight of complete isolation.
From the description alone, it’s immediately clear what kind of movie The Immaculate Room is trying to be, but sadly, the premise has been tackled so many times in the past that it’s become incredibly tired out – and The Immaculate Room makes no attempts to change the formula from what we’ve already seen. The film is a confined examination of the human condition – an analysis of how far people can be pushed before reaching their breaking point. It’s been done time and time again in films such as Saw and Escape Room, but at least these films do something new with the genre to keep it fresh and interesting. The Immaculate Room simply assumes that the audience will immediately be on board with the premise, rushing through the exposition in the first ten minutes and then gradually building towards the film’s finale.
Whilst the film isn’t the worst thing you’ll ever see (there are a few insightful moments and the craftsmanship is competent overall), it’s just incredibly difficult to actually care about either of these characters or their experiences. They’re just not likeable people – they spend the entire time either arguing with each other or complaining about their time in the room. It feels as though they’ve failed the game before they even begin, which prevents the film from ever building any real tension or apprehension about the end result. There are attempts to develop these characters in the form of long, exhaustive monologues about their pasts, but they come way too late in the story, long after the audience has already formed their opinions about these people.
In spite of all this, there are admittedly aspects where the film excels. The final act is a strong improvement on the rest of the film, quickly raising the stakes and actually exploring these characters’ psychological traits in a way that feels real and interesting. If you’re able to look past the extreme predictability of the story, this section of the film almost makes up for the disappointing apathy that you’ll likely feel for the first hour. This is also where Hirsch and Bosworth’s performances shine, as they navigate their characters’ mental breakdowns in an effective and believable way – it’s just a shame that their characters are so blandly written for the remainder of the story.
More than anything, The Immaculate Room proves that you need much more than an interesting concept to actually make a good film. There are good ideas in there, but they’re shrouded behind so much overwhelming predictability and narrative dreariness that it’s difficult to spot them. Between the film’s bland characters and its unwillingness to take any risks whatsoever, The Immaculate Room does very little to justify its own existence. There is potential for the ‘Immaculate Room’, but this film simply doesn’t do the idea any justice.
The Immaculate Room will be released in US theaters and on demand on August 19, 2022.