Saturday, 10 October 2015


Evan Johnson and Guy Maddin reimagine, repurpose and recreate the old as new, faithful yet never entirely genuine, wildly entertaining for the most part, wholly fascinating for the whole part. The Forbidden Room is a dazzlingly rich trinket in analogue and digital, an exercise in digression that has a singular purpose, original presented as counterfeit and vice versa - it faces both forwards and backwards and mines all conceivable value from every angle. As you begin to deduce the methods behind Johnson and Maddin's madness, the reasons herein, be it mental manipulation of the physical, the relationship between lost experience and rediscovered dream, or the sexualisation of life represented in the sexualisation of The Forbidden Room's Russian Doll-like structure, you'll eventually come to question the veracity of any of these reasons, not least since reason itself seems absent from the film. Yet this is precisely the reason - it is only what it is unto itself, often a film unto itself as the credits appear repeatedly mid-movie, further disguising the distinction between reality and fantasy. To ask why is irrelevant, because you simply needn't ask - the intellectualisation of the experience exists only for its own inquiry, and a more appropriate question to ask might be 'why not'? The Forbidden Room is baffling, and delightfully so, funny, and fantastically so, artistically astounding, the product of minds in full mastery of their method, which is indeed deeply mad. It's also distressingly post-racial in the most unpleasant manner for one otherwise excellent sequence, if we're to look at the film objectively; it rather repels such a style of analysis however, and the merits of The Forbidden Room more than outstrip the effect of this minor misstep.