© Sony Pictures Releasing GmbH

The Roommate
U.S.A. 2011

Opening 24 Mar 2011

Directed by: Christian E. Christiansen
Writing credits: Sonny Mallhi
Principal actors: Leighton Meester, Minka Kelly, Cam Gigandet, Alyson Michalka, Danneel Ackles

Freshman student Sara from Des Moines, Iowa, moves into an upmarket dormitory on a southern California university campus. In Sara’s orbit are ex-boyfriend Jason, new boyfriend Stephen, fashion-design teacher Professor Roberts, and Irene, an older friend in the fashion design business. Also, there is Tracy, a fun-loving, irresponsible fellow student who takes her to wild fraternity parties.

Tracy is the first to “get the message” and disappear from Sara’s life. This is because Rebecca, Sara’s new dorm roommate, jealously guards Sara for herself and methodically strikes down all of the above. Naïve Sara very slowly realizes that Rebecca is a psychotic killer, thus giving Danish director Christian E. Christiansen ninety minutes to offer up an attack in the shower, accompanied by the sound of flushing toilets and blinking lights a la Hitchcock, a meeting with Rebecca’s terribly wealthy and helpless parents, a fake rape, and a real stabbing in a hotel bed. If you are still in the cinema, you will be awarded with a first-class hissy struggle between Sara, who, in the meantime has passed Roommate 101 and solved some roommate-related quiz questions, and Rebecca, who tenaciously defends her assumed rights to this roommate.

Sometimes, university offers more education than the actual tuition covers. If it weren’t for the unrestrained psychos, university life, at least in this film, would be marvellous: no one ever studies; the dormitory could compete with a four-star hotel; the only required class is fashion design.

I actually expected more than two corpses (three if you count the cat named Cuddle – translated to Herzi in German). I still wonder who called the police. Also, why is Des Moines so often symbolic for an immature simpleton? It’s practically the largest city in Iowa, for heaven’s sake, and must have its share of smart citizens, even if it is located in the U.S. Midwest. The really good part about The Roommate are all of the beautiful, healthy, athletic, vivacious new actors who, hopefully, will soon be big names: Leighton Meester, Minka Kelly, Cam Gigandet, Aly Michalka, and Danneel Harris. Also, references to the artist Richard Prince and the Isberra family house in Pasadena, which is an exact copy of Marie Antoinette’s castle called Petit Trianon, could send you to respective websites for interesting, detailed information. (Becky Tan)

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