In Spanish language film Fermat’s Room (La Habitacion de Fermat), a group of gifted mathematicians receive an invitation to an exclusive maths meeting, but only if they can first solve an enigma. By correctly answering, they guarantee their place amongst only three others.
From then we enter the real plot: they are trapped inside a slowly shrinking room, which will compress them to death if they do not correctly answer logic problems within a set limit of time. We, the audience, are treated to a steady work-through of all of these problems, as we also try to solve the greatest enigma of the film: who has trapped them there, and why?
The answer at first may seem obvious to some, but the twists and turns that Fermat’s Room leads you on may cause you to doubt that hypothesis. There is a good rhythm to the scenes as they progress between frantic dialogue of attempting to work out the solutions, and the brief pauses and silences after they have finished one problem and are waiting for the next – and trying to figure out exactly what is going on. All will be explained in due time, as the enigmas within the enigma are, and the connections that come together may present surprises for most viewers. Everything clicks into place in a satisfying way, until by the credits a most decisive ending ties up the storyline very neatly.
The acting is good, and convincing – you can feel the despair they project as the situation deepens, particularly from the young actor who features as Galois. Each of them also manages to act in a suspicious enough manner to draw attention to themselves, and their characters are well, if briefly, formed. All in all Fermat’s Room is a good showing by directors Luis Piedrahita and Rodrigo Sopena, and well worth a look on a quiet night in.