A case of mistaken door numbering is the catalyst for murder and mayhem in Room 36, a noir-ish Brit thriller set in and around a sleazy London hotel. Doing most of the trigger-pulling is hitman Connor (Paul Herzberg), whose mission to intercept an MP (Portia Booroff) carrying top-secret microfilm is thrown off course by the arrival of a prostitute. Jim Groom's low-budget film is stylishly lensed in black and white with the odd splash of colour, but sadly there's less here than meets the eye.
The main problem lies with the undernourished screenplay, which can't muster enough twists and turns to fill out a mere 72 minutes. There's little meat on the bones of the underlying conspiracy plot (which involves no less than an attempt to bring down the government) or, for that matter, the characters. Instead of finding out more about Connor (whose sole defining trait is that he likes things 'neat and tidy'), we end up wasting time with the call girl's customer Richard (Frank Scantori), who's of minor importance to the story.
"ARRESTING HOMAGE TO VINTAGE FILM NOIR"
The best reason to visit Room 36 is the monochrome photography, whose moody play of light and shadow pays arresting homage to vintage film noir. Added flourishes like close-ups of objects and overhead shots lend Groom's direction an assured sheen (albeit one that seems to wear off when we step outside the hotel as there's a none-too-convincing scrap in a pub). Maybe Room 36 isn't so well-furnished with ideas, but the view's certainly pleasant.