REVIEW: The Guest Room a.k.a. La Stanza (2021)

dir. Stefano Lodovichi

When a knock at the door prevents Stella (Camilla Filippi) from going through with her plan to kill herself, a stranger arrives who seems to know slightly too much about her. Things get even more complicated when her ex-husband, whose departure is the catalyst for her suicidal intentions, returns to the house.

Queasily claustrophobic and compelling directed by Lodovichi, The Guest Room is a fascinating watch that becomes stranger still with a divisive midpoint reveal. The leading trio of Filippi, Guido Caprino and Edorado Pesce play their parts well, though the writing lets them down with overly generic material. Filippi in particular is great, but one wishes her character had more agency, an issue with the script’s struggle to get beyond outdated tropes especially in its representation of gender.

The aforementioned abode though is the real star, a testament to some terrific set design (get Production Designer, Massimiliano Sturiale, to work on a blockbuster pronto). Timoty Aliprandi’s camera prowls the halls, retaining a tension throughout, even as the narrative takes some rather ludicrous turns.

If you’re prepared to go with it, The Guest Room rewards without innovating. Performances stand out and the technical aspects are often great, but it’s ultimately disposable, making this an interesting but unmemorable stay.

⭐⭐⭐

Russell Bailey

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