Hope, Boredom & Frustration! The Experience of Watching Niyi Akinmolayan’s “Room 315”
Bimbo Manuel, Tina Mba, Gregory Ojefua, Jessica Opara, Emmanuel Uduma
Dr. Stone, in sessions with his clients, discovers how life holds all four of them, including himself, in one intricate web
There were 3 main feelings I had while watching the much talked about short film, “Room 315” by Niyi Akinmolayan and they are as follows: hope, boredom and frustration.
Against my better judgment, I was immensely expectant (or well…hopeful) as I hit play on the short film. From the promotions I had seen, I knew little but I knew enough. From what I knew of Niyi Akinmolayan though (especially in the light of his blog posts), I knew to expect greatness, I knew to expect a legitimate effort, I knew to expect art and I knew to expect talent.
That was probably why in the first few moments the most striking things about the film was the music and then the set design (especially that enigma of a fountain) before the big names or the pretty faces. It wasn’t ever about that in “Room 315”. Instead it was always about the story. It was about creating the atmosphere and it was about drawing you into the characters’ world.
But that world was immensely boring... at first. The first 20 minutes of this 27 minute short was a bit tedious to watch. Once you get into it with this initial expectation and hope, you begin to pay rapt attention because you don’t want to miss a thing. You don’t want to miss the significance of the pendulum on the clock or the significance of the character’s movements or of the camera’s motions. Like for the usual Oscar type, you expect everything to have a significance and you don’t want to be that one person who missed something.
That’s all well and good except for one thing. No one knows where the story is going. This is at the same time the appeal of the film as well as the torture of the film. In this part of the film, I spent much of my time struggling to stay awake…
However… the film wakes you up undeniably at the moment when Tina Mba’s character enters the frame. See what we’re looking for in a non-boring film is not necessarily action or comedy or romantic sparks. Whatever it was we were looking for, Tina Mba’s character brought it and it could not have been a second sooner. At the moment when your eyelids are about to close, she pushes a wheelchair into the frame and ties it all together.
At the end of the film, I still feel like I missed something. For the most part you get it. You see the connections between the three. However, as regards the connection with the fourth (the doctor) you feel like you don’t have the complete picture.
It’s a frustrating feeling but it’s a feeling that is well within the rights of the writer. Without a second part or a continuation, the conclusion is entirely up to the audience.
As far as the performances go, with the exception of Tina Mba (and of course this might be biased due to the fact that her character is the one who brings life into the film), everyone does well enough. There is no bad acting in this film but there is not much great acting in this film. Watching this has reaffirmed within me the dangers of expectations. You’d think I’d know by now but I certainly feel like those who go into this without any prior awareness might enjoy it more due to the element of surprise at the end of the boredom stretch.
In the end it wasn’t really a movie about mental health, it just happened to be set in that world. It was a story about the connections amongst its characters and does nothing for the perception of mental health as far as the eye can see.