Asparse, enigmatic tale of a woman’s ultimately mysterious quest, Kyle Henry’s Room is one of those rare American indies that confidently and successfully propose their own narrative logic, drawing viewers into a mental puzzle that may not contain a single clear solution. Miserable middle-aged Julia (Cyndi Williams), a Texas mom suffering through her shit job at a bingo parlor, suddenly begins experiencing migraines and blackouts, eventually crashing her car during one episode. Still stunned and bloody, she boards a plane for New York on impulse at George Bush Intercontinental Airport. Once there, she sets off in search of the industrial-looking room that has begun to appear to her through invasive images flooding her consciousness with a staticky pirate-transmission buzz. (Henry’s background in experimental filmmaking suggests the similarities between Julia’s inner visions and Michael Snow’s visionary classic Wavelength aren’t accidental.) As in Kelly Reichardt’s Old Joy or Jennifer Reeves’s The Time We Killed, snatches of media broadcasts from recent political events act as an outward sign of Julia’s inner barometrics. And like those two films, Room uses the psychic vagaries of individuals to serve as metaphors for a nation that has itself gone dangerously adrift with no certain goal in sight.
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on June 20, 2006