The walls are closing in-literally-on four brainiac mathematicians with shadowy pasts in this übertense debut. Galois is a sexy virtuoso who has just attained rock star status in the math world. Pascal is a doleful, middle-aged drunk. Oliva is a brilliant but hardheaded hottie. Hilbert is an eager 60-something who loves a good mind game. Each has been invited by the mysterious Fermat to a sort of salon for riddle freaks, where they will try to solve an assuredly grand enigma. Ditching their cars and cell phones, the crew follows Fermat's brain-teasing bread crumbs to an isolated warehouse. The man behind the curtain is hardly what they expect, and when Fermat ditches the party before even laying out the riddle, the gang thinks the whole night is a bust. But then a left-behind PDA rings-a riddle on it. Solve it in one minute or the walls, rigged with mega hydraulic presses (the kind, Pascal nervously quips, they use to crush other hydraulic presses when they've worn out), will begin to press in. With their lives on the line, these four brains must solve their most profound equation yet: Why is someone trying to kill them? Armed with a plot that would set Edgar Allen Poe aflutter, Piedrahita and Sopeña take their debut feature to the next level by saturating their confined quarters in rich, portentous colors and pumping the audio full of spine-tingling creaks and cracks as the shifting walls slowly gobble up the salon and everything in it. The occasional burst of full-bodied score adds a timely punch without sounding obvious or trite. Acting is top-notch, and, though the clock is always ticking, each actor is given equal time to peel back the layers of his or her character's involvement in the mystery.
Co-hosted with Instituto Cervantes, The Cultural Center of Spain in New York.
Luis Piedrahita and Rodrigo Sopeña are experienced television writers and directors. They are part of the team behind the successful Spanish talk show El Hormiguero and directors of the original hit show about magic, Nada por Aquí. Fermat's Room is their first feature film.