The Maid’s Room Review

Posted: August 10, 2014 in Reviews, Thriller
Tags: , , , ,

The Maid's RoomMidway through The Maid’s Room, a middling thriller centered on the familiar question of what happens when an illegal alien witnesses illegal activities, director/screenwriter Michael Walker abandons the obvious and takes an unexpected left turn in a narrative that is painfully predictable to that point. Walker jettisons expectations and conventions and gives the viewer hope that the filmmaker may have something truly original in his pocket. Unfortunately, Walker squanders the opportunity, and the movie sputters without momentum until a complete cock-up of an ending that satisfies no one.

Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold would serve nicely as the Twitter review for this one. Walker shifts the story’s attention haphazardly among the main characters, leaving the audience without an anchor. Is this the tale of a young woman who has come from Colombia to make a better life for herself and aspires to go to university? Or are we to identify with the privileged son, who is enjoying a summer of decadence at his rich parents’ palatial home on Long Island before heading to Princeton? Suddenly, it’s the Dad’s deeds that we need to be concerned with, as the brittle Mom fades into the wallpaper of her beautiful home. Then there’s that pesky friend who keeps showing up at the front gate. By the end, it’s not clear who’s trying to get away with what by keeping it from whom – a fatal equation for a would-be thriller.

Paula Garcés plays the maid with a “Hey, Meester” accent and a severely pulled-back hairstyle that does not camouflage her smoking hotness. That and the fact that Garcés is 40-years old undercuts her being cast as Drina, the aspiring student and mediocre housecleaner who manages to rip the curtains and discover a gun in a locked drawer on her first day on the job. Philip Ettinger has better luck as young Brandon Crawford; intentionally or not, he plays awkward like nobody’s business. His infatuation with the new maid is teased at, but never developed, so no relationship develops before that fateful night, that fateful night referring to when Brandon drives into the garage at 4:30 am with a busted headlight and proceeds to clean his car. A rich kid cleaning anything is an obvious giveaway to an immigrant maid, and Drina immediately knows he’s been up to no good.

Mr. and Mrs. Crawford arrive the next morning and it’s difficult to decide what is upsetting them the most: the drunk driving, the supposed dead deer, or the fact that Drina has not cleaned up the puke in the garage yet. In terms of what happens next, let’s just say the vomit is the only thing disposed of properly. Bill Camp as the Dad has some fun with his role and is one of the few sources of energy in the entire film. Annabella Sciorra as the Mom is also fine in early going, but is given very little to do after that.

Walker half-heartedly makes a stab at introducing supernatural and psychodrama elements into the third act without avail. In fact, other than the twist at the halfway point, The Maid’s Room is a technically sound, but rather tepid and timid movie, content to paint by the numbers rather than trying any bold, new strokes.

Two stars.

 

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