Imagine waking up early one morning to be a participant in a discussion where some key decisions are to be made. The white room transports us to one such life-changing discussion happening in a boarded-up room, early one morning. As we understand the dynamics between the participants and realize where we are at, we also learn that the impending consequences of the decision to be made that day is beyond grave.
Steven M Ulman, in his directorial debut, The White Room, takes us to a place where we have been quite often, but have refused to give it the due attention it deserves. Inside our mind. ‘The white room’, is the director’s reference to the human mind in its pristine form, unscarred and unblemished. Or as said in the film, ‘I remember the room before the first mark was made.’ But as the years pass, and as the scars add up, the room changes from the pristine white, to the dump it has become today; a confounded space, scarred with illegible graffiti and halfhearted efforts to keep away the outside lights; bootstrapping with cardboard and tape. The setting of the room is a good indicator of the state of the mind we are currently inside of.
As the main characters of the film, Complacency, Ego, Intelligence and fear argue about who takes the story forward, we realize how important a decision it is, to whom we hand over the reins of our life. The mention-worthy performances by Mr. Intelligence and Mr. Ego, the reaction shots of the characters, and the slick editing putting them together, are commendable, considering that all the characters are performed by the same actor.
The White room is not without its rough edges and scope for improvement in many of its technical departments. But, for a director’s debut film, the theme and the message the film sets out to convey, makes The White Room a thought-provoking watch, that touches upon the sensitive issue of suicides. After all, if we can keep the voices in the white room in in harmony with each other, we can possibly retain the white color of the room (our mind) and make the world a better place for ourselves.