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36 of 37 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Spanish horror film about maths...
I shamelessly stole and adapated the title of this review for good reason. The nowadays sadly obligatory review quote on the DVD box reads "Pi meets Cube with a dash of Saw". I'm not certain that's entirely accurate and liked the actual tagline "Think inside the box" a whole lot more.
Yes there are numbers involved (Pi). Yes they are trapped in a kind of...
Published on 8 Sept. 2009 by G. Thomas

versus
3.0 out of 5 stars a thriller which didn't quite
It has a reasonably straightforward plot, but there is little mystery or suspense involved, and after the Cube it showed itself lacking. It was a room which would eventually crush its victims to death, and bit by bit, in the midst of performing logic tests to stay alive, the victims work out why they are to be murdered and by whom. There were scenes upon which the plot...
Published 20 months ago by Barbara. Barron


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36 of 37 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Spanish horror film about maths..., 8 Sept. 2009
By 
G. Thomas (Canterbury UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Fermat's Room [DVD] [2007] (DVD)
I shamelessly stole and adapated the title of this review for good reason. The nowadays sadly obligatory review quote on the DVD box reads "Pi meets Cube with a dash of Saw". I'm not certain that's entirely accurate and liked the actual tagline "Think inside the box" a whole lot more.
Yes there are numbers involved (Pi). Yes they are trapped in a kind of box-deathtrap (Cube) and yes there is an unknown devilish tormenter who poses riddles (Saw) but to break "Fermat's Room" up into merely the sum of it's parts is to do this film a great disservice.
(Also mention of "Cube" and "Saw" is perhaps aimed at attracting slightly the wrong audience while "Pi" the "Jewish horror film about maths" is a lot closer to the mark.... but maybe I'm reading too much into it).

Frankly this is a film that would struggle to find screentime at most multiplex cinemas. The release of "Fermat's Room" in the UK is unapologetically aimed at a niche audience. It's a foreign language, low-budget, mathematics-themed horror/thriller and I enjoyed it heartily.

Four apparent strangers are invited by riddle to attend the solving of a mysterious enigma that would challenge the greatest of minds. Their intellectual curiosity and perhaps arrogance leads them into a potential deathtrap of solving timed mathematical riddles to stay alive (To be just the slightest bit critical here I did find some of the riddles less than challenging as they tended to be the kind of logic puzzles I learned as a child). Of course the film's biggest riddle of all is why, specifically, are they there.

What starts most sedately gradually escalates into a crescendo of panic, paranoia, accusation and the will to survive. The characters and you the viewer are misdirected at every turn plunging you directly into the frenetic pacing as the very literal end draws ever closer.
There are some truly standout moments of cinematic style that only European cinema seems capable of pulling off these days and as the clues and conclusions come thick and fast you struggle to keep up with the supposed geniuses. There is little time for idle thought and I suspect a few people may even get left behind if they so much as blink.

Exciting, intelligent, unpatronising and distincly continental cinema which may not be 100% original but does improve upon the formula tenfold.
Highly recommended.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant Spanish psychological thriller, 23 Oct. 2010
By 
Pete Johnson "Pete Johnson" (Norfolk) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Fermat's Room [DVD] [2007] (DVD)
It is very hard to review this film without spoiling the plot but I will try my best. A group of very different people receive individual invitations to a dinner hosted by a genius. They all eventually decide to go, to find on arrival that their host is missing. Soon after dinner, they find that they have to solve problems against the clock. If they fail to do so, something nasty happens. What is the reason for this ? What is the connection between the characters. Can they solve the problems in time? All is revealed eventually, with great twists and turns that keep you guessing. If it sounds a bit like an Agatha Christie play, you are not a million miles away. However, it is crisper, better plotted, and better acted than most of hers will ever be. One for fans of World Cinema and mystery thrillers, none of whom should be disappointed by this Spanish mini-classic.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Like watching in "Blur"-ray, good film though, 14 Feb. 2011
By 
Slurms McKenzie (The middle of England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Fermat's Room [DVD] [2007] (DVD)
It`s a rare breed, the old math-based thriller. Which is how this is described, but it`s more than that. The story boils down to one man trying to finish off some others, and a will-they, won`t-they escape finale? 90% of the story is not particularly original, but it is well-acted and easy to follow without being fluent in Spanish, and as the dialogue is not the key to the film, it`s pretty easy to follow events - especially when the walls are literally closing in on our main characters, and people are driving off cliffs. I might well argue though that it`s a damn good job that following the subtitles isn`t crucial, as they were blurred. In fact, the whole film has a grainy-8mm look about it; in terms of actual picture quality this is Grindhouse. I like the film though, which is about a group of mathematicians meeting under mysterious circumstances, invited by "Fermat", as they discover how they relate to each other. The dynamics and tension between them is a good watch, as the odd red herring throws off both them and the viewer. If you don`t mind grainy subtitles and reasonably sub-standard picture quality, then you might well enjoy this.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars It’s time to start thinking inside the box, 14 Mar. 2015
By 
Alan Jones (United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Fermat's Room [DVD] [2007] (DVD)
Fermat’s Room is an intelligent, intriguing and riveting Spanish film about three mathematicians and an inventor who find themselves trapped in a shrinking room located in a disused warehouse. Individually, they have each accepted an invitation from an anonymous person called ‘Fermat’ to attend what they believe to be an elite convention of the nation’s top mathematical minds. In order to survive they must solve a series of logical puzzles which are periodically set for them by their captor and as the film progresses the reason why each of them is there is gradually revealed. The emotional tension builds up as panic and paranoia take hold and the captives begin to accuse each other of compliance in their predicament. I rented this film after reading the Amazon reviews on this page and am glad that I did.
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4.0 out of 5 stars A superb, mathematical mystery thriller, 4 July 2011
By 
Mr. James Dickson (Sheffield, England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Fermat's Room [DVD] [2007] (DVD)
Fermat's Room is a well paced mystery thriller to keep you guessing throughout as four mathematicians, at different moments in their careers and lives, come together to discuss a mathematical problem in a remote and unknown location.

The mathematicians in question are thoughtfully written and provided with a nugget of background to help succinctly establish their character prior to the meeting in Fermat's room. All are portrayed with sufficient realism and intrigue to ensure the somewhat far-fetched premise (of mass-mathematician-murder) is not undermined by cliché and novelty but that it instead carries with it the weightiness of Mathematics and it's historical baggage of glory, madness, logic, jealousy, despair etc. all of which is cleverly referenced throughout, sometimes discreetly and other times neatly woven into the narrative.

The eventual revelation of the groups predicament is dealt with somewhat candidly by the characters, but in a befitting manner were such a situation to arise amongst logic-driven intellectuals (as opposed to panic-prone, angst-ridden teens), and because of this, the slow and relentless nature of their inevitable doom, as the walls start closing in, correlates effectively with the escalating tension and emotion in the room, enabling the film to progress to a satisfying climax. As the four mathematicians are beset by a number of enigmas to prevent their impending demise, we are given a little enigma in each of the four mathematicians, whose secrets are gradually revealed in order to uncover the reason for their entrapment. All this is very well managed, using a stylish, red walled, almost grandiose and inviting set, but ultimately intended by their captor as a cramped, claustrophobic tomb. To conduct a film in such a setting is a highly credible technical achievement in itself and provides the perfect environment for the tension, drama and secrets to unfold.

There are titbits of humour throughout; some intentionally - in the clever script as a character infers from a logic problem the nature of individuals in the group, and some unintentionally - in the Black Adder-esque opening title sequence as a black-gloved hand is seen arranging a scale model of Fermat's room (comic-gothic-noir?). Intended or not, all the humour lends an aspect to the film which helps evolve the premise of four mathematicians trapped in a room to four identifiable, likeable and complex human beings trapped in a room. Rather than just victims, we see people.

What I would have enjoyed more of, (which is in part provided by deleted scenes in the special features), was more detail in the establishment of the characters, with which to refer to later in the film as revelations are made and the pieces of the puzzle slot together as the ultimate enigma is unveiled. It was apparently the two directors decision to omit these background scenes in response to audience feedback and also because they were deemed non-essential for the story arc and may arguably have detracted from the pace of the film, which is a tidy 90 minutes after all. Also, if you're not a Spanish speaker the subtitles may be a little on the small side and sometimes lack contrast from the background, which can unfortunately detract from subtle nuances within the script, unless you have a keen eye. Despite these minor shortcomings, Fermat's Room is a thrilling and enjoyable treat, based on a simple premise performed and directed very well and though in a contemporary setting, there is an old fashioned feel to it, evoking aspects of classic noir and relying on good acting and story telling above all else. I'd recommend it to all but the most claustrophobic of mathematicians.
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4.0 out of 5 stars The Walls Are Closing In..., 17 Sept. 2010
By 
P. J. Potter "Phil" (London, England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Fermat's Room [DVD] [2007] (DVD)
Fermat's Room is a Spanish locked-room puzzler in the vein of Cube, Exam and The Killing Room where everyone inside is looking for a way to escape or win. In this case, it's escape. Despite the blood red cover complete with floating eye it's a surprisingly gore-free affair, a marketing move Exam pulled too.

Four maths geniuses are invited by a perfect stranger to a shindig and tackle some obscure mathematical theorem. Par-tay! But as the night rolls on the host leaves and the guests find themselves trapped inside a locked room and the walls creeping in ever so slowly, decimating every bit of furniture in the process, pausing only when they can solve the host's mathematical riddles via phone.

That's the jist of the plot, the rest of the ingredients bring just enough variety to make it interesting without blowing you away; It's surprisingly well shot and sleek looking for the low-budget. The script has some nice touches such as following the host after he leaves the party giving some perspective on what's happening from outside. There's no obvious Redshirts marked for death or intense, silent types who'll shock the world and come out on top so you'll be second guessing for a while.

I felt the story wrapped itself up in a little too neatly without any loose ends, or maybe I was hoping for sign of a sequel. Once the reveal came it rushed to its conclusion instead of building on the twist comes, making it look meaningless as a result. Bit of a damp note to end on but everything that came before was good, if not great.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Leave now if you don't know what a Prime Number is, 7 Dec. 2009
By 
Marshall Lord (Whitehaven, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Fermat's Room [DVD] [2007] (DVD)
That's the first line of this Spanish language thriller, but it might also be considered good advice for someone deciding whether to watch it.

The film begins as a handsome young mathematician, played by Alejo Sauras, is demonstrating an unusual approach to chatting up a pair of pretty girls: by giving them a lecture about mathematical problems.

It transpires that he is a rising young star of mathematics who is due to give a demonstration in three days of his solution to a famous problem, Goldbach's conjecture. (This is a real conundrum, which at the time of writing has not been proved, that every even number greater than two can be expressed as the sum of two prime numbers.)

For reasons which will become apparent, he is unable to give the presentation.

A few months later, Sauras's character is one of four brilliant mathematicians who are invited to travel to a mysterious location so that they can be set the challenge of solving a fascinating mathematical engima. All four are asked to use the names of famous mathematicians from history - later in the film they realise that the names chosen have a macabre significance.

Apart from Sauras's character, the other mathematicians invited are a moody inventor (Santi Millan), a pretty young genius (Elena Ballesteros), and a seasoned chess-playing math wizard who has been suffering from depression (Lluis Homar). The invitations have been sent in the name "Fermat", and sure enough, a fifth person arrives who is using that name (played by Federico Luppi).

The four mathematicians are expecting "Fermat" to describe the puzzle when an unexpected emergency intervenes, and he has to leave. Making his apologies, he does so, promising to be back as soon as possible, and suggesting they start without him.

The film may lose some viewers at this point as most people will be shaking their heads and thinking "what's going on here?" but then you realise that the characters in the film are equally baffled. The four mathematicians are still trying to understand this enigmatic comment when they realise that "Fermat" - or someone - has tricked them into entering a lethal trap which they have to use their mathematical and problem-solving skills to survive.

The tension gradually builds as they try to survive and escape while asking themselves, who is "Fermat" and why has he - or someone - set up this elaborate trap?

Very unusual, and not entirely plausible, but quite entertaining, especially if you are excited by the idea of solving puzzles under pressure. The acting is brilliant and it is easy to suspend disbelief while watching the film.

This will probably be of most interest to those viewers who like mathematical and logical puzzles, but you don't have to understand all the puzzles which the characters have to solve to be able to enjoy the tension in the film.

Soundtrack in Spanish, with English subtitles available.
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3.0 out of 5 stars a thriller which didn't quite, 1 Sept. 2013
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This review is from: Fermat's Room [DVD] [2007] (DVD)
It has a reasonably straightforward plot, but there is little mystery or suspense involved, and after the Cube it showed itself lacking. It was a room which would eventually crush its victims to death, and bit by bit, in the midst of performing logic tests to stay alive, the victims work out why they are to be murdered and by whom. There were scenes upon which the plot depended which were outside the killer room, and I feel that although this was necessary, it watered down the plot, and suggested there was a way out for the victims, not the unending suspense of its forbear the Cube, which strongly disorientated and tortured the victims. It took the viewer's attention away from the room.
The subtitles were difficult to read, the contrast was poor, but necessary because the script is in Spanish, and I found myself constantly going backwards to catch up on the text, whch was a needed part of the plot.
It was reasonable entertainment, but it'll be a while before I view again
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3.0 out of 5 stars A teasingly twisted psychological thriller, 3 Sept. 2012
This review is from: Fermat's Room [DVD] [2007] (DVD)
It's not really about maths - it's about twisted psychology and the lengths some people will go to in order to mess with peoples' heads.
I was releived to discover this for two reasons: I'm fairly rubbish at maths, and I like psychological thrillers.
Invited to a mini conference for gifted minds, a small group shows up only to find they're locked in a room and that their absent host appears determined to kill them. For every riddle they get wrong, or take too long to answer, the room gets smaller...
Essentially a race against time that turns into a psychological pressure cooker, it's a clever film that enjoys playing with the audience. It also has a few unexpected and enjoyable twists.
It is subtitled, and it is very wordy - it won't be for everyone.
But if you feel like a film that's a weird intellectual mixture of the atmosphere of a Saw trap combined with the cold logic of Cube, then this might well be for you.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Intriguing..., 10 July 2012
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This review is from: Fermat's Room [DVD] [2007] (DVD)
What an enjoyable movie to watch. This reminded me very much of the Italian-directed, but English speaking movie called "The Cube", where a bunch of people were trapped in a series of non-descript rooms that together formed a moving, changing Rubiks Cube structure with each room possibly containing traps that would kill. While trapped, people turned on each other, became suspicious and adversarial.

This movie is very much in that same style. A bunch of mathematical genie are anonymously invited to meet Fermat at an isolated homestead to discuss theories and other nerdy things. As it turns out, these people, all who don't know each other, rock up and find themselves trapped in a room and to save themselves, must solve ever increasingly difficult riddles. The riddles were great and I enjoyed taking them to work and testing them on people.

This is an excellent movie, you have to see it...
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Fermat's Room [DVD] [2007]
Fermat's Room [DVD] [2007] by Rodrigo Sopena (DVD - 2009)
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