There’s a really good movie lurking around the corners The killing room. As the story unfolds, you can clearly see some elements that, if pursued further, could greatly improve the experience. However, that is Nicol Paone Film – a sequel to the director’s 2020 debut Give friendship – plays it safe most of the time, although the narrative begs to go deeper.
The killing room revolves around Patrice (Uma Thurman), a down-on-his-luck art dealer who can’t seem to catch a break and is slowly contemplating bankruptcy. Everything changes when she comes into contact with Gordon (Samuel L. Jackson), a drug dealer who wants to use her art gallery as a front for money laundering. To achieve this, they decide to create an underground artist called “The Bagman” (Joe Manganiello), who becomes an overnight avant-garde sensation.
You can already tell from the summary The killing room has great potential for satire and dark humor – both of which can certainly be found throughout the story. The film gets to the bottom of the subjective nature of art, and while it treats abstract and expressionist art with a fair amount of disdain, it makes a general, but still good, point about how elitist the world of “appreciation” is Art is value can be manipulated and like taste can be manipulated.
Art is the focus of “The Kill Room”
At the same time there is the feeling that The killing room we could have gone much further with it. The film presents art from different angles and sparks several debates and storylines that could significantly enliven the discussion about it, but most of them are abandoned. The story could easily turn into a high-stakes dispute between artists and art dealers (more or less like that Cruella Remake did), but in the end that just becomes background noise for something else.
Naturally, The killing room never indicates that it is so want It is intended to be a huge criticism or commentary on the art world, as there is also a whole crime story to be developed. The problem is that this aspect of the film is never fully utilized either. The film tries to suggest it, but you never really get the feeling that Patrice’s life is in danger because she gets caught up in the affairs of the mafia bosses. Despite being a cold-blooded killer, you never feel like Manganiello’s Reggie is a threat, as the character is quite charismatic and his cruelty is largely downplayed in the story.
Dark humor can only do so much for The Kill Room
This kind of watering down of a character works well when there is a lot of dark humor to be gained from it, but in this regard The killing room also sticks to the surface. The irony of a murderer becoming a celebrated artist is not lost in the film, but it almost all plays out that way Jonathan Jacobson‘s script had developed this concept and then thought it didn’t need to be fully developed. Of course, finding the balance between thriller and dark humor is not an easy task, but TV shows like that Barry have already proven that it is possible to convey the horrors and dangers of the criminal underworld and be hilarious at the same time.
Luckily for The killing roomHowever, Uma Thurman has the edge. The actress’s presence really enhances every scene she appears in and it’s a joy to be able to empathize with Patrice’s desperation. The realization grows that she is only one step away from becoming a great art dealer. Her genuine commitment to her one and only artist and her relationship with her assistant are the strongest elements of the film. Thurman handles all facets of the character with ease, and there’s never a dull moment watching her on screen – even when the story ventures into scatology to make jokes.
Thurman’s scenes only get better when she’s with Jackson. The duo conducts their dialogue like a walk in the park, and it shows The killing room tries to make the best of it. Above all, Jackson’s cool personality is more than enough to embrace his character. However, Jacobson’s script makes it clear to viewers that Gordon can be a threat if he wants to. This is particularly noticeable in Gordon’s first encounter with Patrice, where he is nothing but cordial, but you can sense the threat in his words and attitude.
Ultimately, The killing room isn’t a bad experience by any means, but by the end you feel like you’ve been treated to bits and pieces of what the film could be if it either decided to develop its characters or just take one of its elements and run with it. The point it brings about art is certainly good for starting a conversation. However, everything fails when art lovers and criminals are portrayed as either snobs or naive.
The big picture
- The killing room has great potential for satire and dark humor, but it only scratches the surface and fails to fully develop its art-related storylines and debates.
- The film tries to find the balance between crime thriller and dark humor, but it doesn’t quite succeed
- Uma Thurman’s presence in the film enhances every scene she appears in, and her chemistry with Samuel L. Jackson is a highlight, but overall the film lacks in fully developing its characters and making any meaningful commentary on the art world.
The killing room is now in the cinema.