By Jonathan Holin
Directed by Luis Piedrahita and Rodrigo Sopena
Fermat’s Room is a cool Spanish thriller that has plenty of mystery and intriguing surprises. Four mathematicians are invited to a private location to solve the greatest mathematical enigma of all time. They must first solve a puzzle to get there, and the movie, which is a puzzle itself, is full of puzzles. I mean that in a good way.
The room is furnished like the refined setting of a French salon, but incongruously located inside a warehouse. Once inside, the four guests discover that the door is locked from the outside and they are trapped.
As they try to figure out why, no one notices at first that the walls are closing in, literally. One of them was given a phone, which begins receiving logic problems, which they must answer to stop the walls from closing.
Fermat’s Room is more interesting than it might seem from any description. It’s fueled by human desire and emotion, and the actors do a convincing job as desperate people. We can forgive them for not being at all suspicious of the room’s strange location, or not noticing the four giant industrial compressors on each side of the room. With the possibility to join in greatness with the likes of Pythagoras and Pascal is death such a deterrent?
Fermat’s Room manages to avoid feeling like a forced plot despite, or maybe because of, its forced limitations in setting and character.
Oh, and there’s a big twist I highly doubt you’ll see coming.