By Reno Rangan


Discovering a Whole New World beyond the Four Walls

We all know the German folk tale ‘Rapunzel’, and this is a similar kind with an entirely different motive. This is not a fairy tale set in the medieval period, but inspired by many real events of the present era. A couple of years ago I saw a German movie called 3096 Days based on a true story. When I heard of this movie being made, at first obviously I remembered that title, but after seeing the poster alone convinced me it’s not the same. Automatically the expectations rose, and now it’s got the 4 Oscars nominees, including best motion picture.

The two halves of the movie were entirely different from each other, like they were two sets of story, but the core of the theme remains same. The first half was a crucial part that takes place completely in a single room with minimal cast. It does not go through the intro, just begins to tell the story like as it’s already happening and you might take a few minutes to realize the state of their condition. The next half is a reaction to what happened in the previous half of the story. And again this is also an important storytelling section because like the title, it was not all about the room, but beyond that four walls and its roof and floor, like how it affected the mother and son.

“If you don’t mind, it doesn’t matter.”

The movie does not talk about the crime feature at all, it doesn’t even reveal the motive behind it and this remains a mystery remains. The whole narration was one sided, everything was seen through the eyes of a five year old boy. He begins with the line ‘Once upon a time…’ like a fairy tale, because it is to him and with his cute little performance along with Brie Larson’s, the movie briefs their struggle for freedom.

It was a casual opening, like nothing bad is really happening, just that they’re weird people or maybe agoraphobic, except they’re not. You know when we say we love to be kids again to escape this complicated adult life, sometimes we don’t mean it except it was a normal reaction to the situation we’re in. But what if a five year old boy wants to be four again when her mother thinks it’s time for him know what the real world looks like? Yeah, that’s a too much to take in for a young boy, but that’s the best chance they had to break free from the psycho who put her mother in that room.

“When I was small, I only knew small things.
But now I’m five, I know everything.”

It was a tidy film, but the camera angles were impressive. I know it was shot in a studio with a wide open space behind the camera, but that does not ruin the viewpoint in the actual story. When the first half ends it is an indication that the good parts are over, at least that’s what I thought, but what came after was the unexpected expansion in narration. Usually most of similar tales end in that part, like for example Prisoners and the rest is understandable stuff that won’t be shown.

When a tale had a ending like ‘happily ever after’, still some people desire for it to continue a few more minutes to know how happy really they are and that’s what this film’s second half is about. Remember, most similar themes have multiple perspectives, like how the victim’s family is coping with life, cops are pursuing the suspect, the abductor’s plans and motive, and the captives struggle. Like I said it was all about what a mother and her son goes through those years in captivity and after that.

There were some suspicious characters and events, like I had a bad feeling over the doctor’s soft talking and also the mother-son master plan when they were in captivity. Those are tiny diversions so viewers assume something different is happening to where the story is heading. It is all about the mother and son’s mental trauma, especially for the little boy, similar to when Tarzan is in a big town for the first time leaving behind his other life. It was a perfect pace as well, neither hurried nor a slow development. The movie was a big break for many, especially for the Irish director Lenny Abrahamson, Brie Larson and of course for the kid Jacob Tremblay. Definitely one of the finest movies of 2015 and a must watch.

Rating: 9/10



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