Monday, August 19, 2019

White Chamber

White Chamber (2018)

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In the near future, the British government has gone tits up and martial law has been declared, with racism and xenophobia running rampant. The resistance, led by a charismatic and mysterious leader (Oded Fehr), is pushing back harder against the fascist government resulting in attempts to perfect experimental weaponry. Meanwhile, a woman (Shauna Macdonald) wakes up in a white room. She may or may not be tied to a government task force developing new extremes in chemical warfare. An unseen operator uses the room's controls to torture her for information. What she knows is then revealed in a prolonged flashback where an experimental drug is tested on the leader of the revolution.


  • White Chamber is, at its core, a sci-fi thriller about chemical engineering (+1)
  • Oded Fehr was a babe in The Mummy (1999), and he's still a babe now (+1)
  • The movie contains some genuinely surprising twists that I did not anticipate (+3)
  • White Chamber also contains some interesting ethical commentary, some of which is fairly standard issue - Milgram experiment type stuff, and questions about whether or not a war can be just - but also addresses how political apathy can lead to social breakdown, which is something that I haven't seen touched on a lot in science fiction (+3)
  • Movie contains face-eating action (+1)
Total: +9


  • The movie opens with some introductory narration explaining this world's political clusterfuck, and then jumps right ahead to a woman waking up in a strange room with no idea how she got there, which feels a lot like a video game intro. I'm not opposed to that in movies based on video games, but this is one of those "smart" movies (-1)
  • The plot gets the female lead into her underwear in a hurry (-1)
  • The number one biggest issue that I had with this movie is that Oded Fehr is contained in the white chamber for five days and, despite eating on average once per day, never shits or pisses on the floor. At one point he throws up on the floor, and I have to wonder what their plan for cleaning the room is (-2)
  • Actually, that's a lie, the number one biggest issue is that White Chamber very obviously wants to say something about the current political climate, but it's too clean to make that point effectively. The ending leaves the impression that "there are bad people on both sides" but overall the movie downplayed the effects of institutionalized racism and xenophobia by, well, not showing the effects of institutionalized racism and xenophobia. One of the characters (Amrita Acharia) even remarks that, even though she is the type of person (i.e., brown) that xenophobes are targeting, her family were privileged enough not to suffer the effects. It's interesting because people like that do exist, but it also squanders the opportunity to really address what happens to brown people under a white supremacist government. Oded Fehr's character touches on it briefly as well, before turning around and being an evil monster. (-2)
Total: -6

Final Score: 3 thumbs up

White Chamber gets so caught up in trying to be clever (to be fair, it is really clever), that it loses sight of what it's trying to say about the world. It's got some interesting points, but ultimately it's too sterile to elicit any real emotions or strong feelings from me

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