The Roommate (Blu-ray Review)

Some called this film a strong parallel to 1992’s Single White Female. Since that film has yet to grace my viewing attention, I went into The Roommate with an open mind. The man calling the shots here is Danish director Christian E. Christiansen, more widely known for his works abroad than those here in North America. His talents were lauded by the creative minds behind The Roommate‘s script, so take that and bring in an aesthetically pleasing cast and you’ve got the makings of a strong hit, right?

When I say aesthetically pleasing, I mean it.  This college-oriented film with model-quality stars could have had the replacement title of “Catwalk U.”  You’ve got the sly cuteness of Leighton Meester (Gossip Girl), the sheer hotness of Minka Kelly (TV series Friday Night Lights) and the chiseled, smooth-smiling looks of Cam Gigandet (Burlesque).  Hell, even Billy Zane was in the film as a professor.  Somebody had their glasses on when they cast this movie.  But all of that aside, “pretty” doesn’t carry a film, so how did the other aspects of film fair?


As previously mentioned, The Roommate takes place on a college campus where freshman Sara Matthews (Minka Kelly) gets adjusted to college life and the meeting of new friends.  Don’t get me wrong; Kelly is gorgeous but I just don’t buy she’s an 18-year old freshman. A 25-year old freshman, okay. Anyway, one such person she meets along the way is none other than her roommate (hey, hence the title!) Rebecca (Leighton Meester).  Almost immediately, Meester commits a masterful effort at sending out uncomfortable vibes to those around her as well as me as a viewer.  This girl is beautiful, but you’ll easily see that disappear amidst an interior of one very distorted personality.  The juxtaposition of pretty girl plus smiley first impression was well crafted against her true, deviant undertones.

While Sara goes about the traditional college lifestyle of studying, partying and finding love, Rebecca continues to just radiate a creepiness that Sara seems immune to, though her friends are very congizant of.  As time goes on, Sara’s eyes (and what beautiful eyes they are) are opened to the curious behavioral traits of roommate Rebecca.  Her social awkwardness is only rivaled by what truly lies in her deceptive mind as her reality begins to unravel.  This builds toward an inevitable showdown, but the path to the end of the movie felt like an arduous one.  For an hour and a half film, I felt like I was subjected to an additional phantom 30 minutes in there somewhere.

I understand as a writer or director that you need to build the suspense until the end of the film, but it was a little boring at times.  For example, let’s just say on a scale of 1 to 5, 5 is the most suspenseful, so in a film like this, you start of at a 1 and escalate from there.  In The Roommate, it went from a 1 to a 2 to a 3 to a 3 to a 3 to a 4.  It reached a point where the build-up was non-existent and it just retained the same stagnant tone.  This perpetual rut was eventually overcome, but not before this writer began drifting.  The quality of acting ranged in the realm of adjectives from average to decent, though nothing amazing took place as far as that skill goes.  I don’t want to totally dismiss this movie though.  It definitely had its moments, though too key to give away here.  Again, Meester gets high scores for her work as the committer of dastardly deeds, some enough to make your skin crawl.  There’s just this uncarbonated feeling throughout the film that keeps it from rising to the next level.


The video of The Roommate comes to us in a 2.40:1 aspect ratio and AVC encode.  It is definitely a strong point of this disc as detail is quite visible, even in the dimly lit scenes that are usually the ultimate revealer for grain.  That grain is kept to a minimum and as a result, the movie’s clarity tends to show up in a very lush manor in most cases.  In those scenes of an empty gray room, or an early morning ground-level shot, you may not have the same vibrance, but these visuals are still handled appropriately for the mood they are intending to portray.


Unfortunately, there are not a lot of moments to make use of surround sound.  However, there are those sparse club scenes when the music is absolutely thumping with an energizing bass reverberating through the subwoofer, background conversation penetrating the rear speakers, and character dialogue jumping from the front.  You can’t penalize them for a soundtrack that’s mostly dialogue, but still, there are those moments when a little more use of the rear speakers would have been appreciated.

Special Features  

What’s ironic about the extras on The Roommate disc is that is suffers from just the exact opposite of a lot of other Blu-ray extras.  Where many films can have a plethora of standard def goodies, The Roommate provides us with almost all high def featurettes but at the end of the day, they’re very limited in quantity and run time.  If my math is right, it gives us 34 minutes and 1 second of extras here.  They were interesting to watch but almost a third of those extras were previews for other films.

  • Previews – Watch the trailers for five films which include Insidious, Just Go With It, Country Strong, Beastly, and You Got Served: Beat the World (10:38).
  • Commentary with Director Christian E. Christiansen
  • Deleted & Alternate Scenes – This is the only extra in standard definition (6:09).
  • Obsession: The Making of The RoommateThe writer, director, and actors provide a little insight on what it took to put this film together (8:46).
  • The Roommate: The Next Generation of Stars – This bit offers some discussion with the young actors who headlined The Roommate cast (5:27).
  • Dressing Dangerously – Costume designer Maya Lieberman talks about how she applied the right wardrobe for each character (3:51).

Final Thoughts  

The best part of this movie was Leighton Meester nailing the creepy and underhanded facets of her character.  Believe me, you want this bitch to fall off a cliff about a half hour into the film.  That aside, the movie left me wanting more about halfway through and that sentiment stuck by the time the credits rolled.  Maybe part of my problem was watching the Lady Gaga HBO special just before this movie as I was still clinging to that, singing “Born This Way” over and over in my head while the movie played out.  Perhaps the reason why that tune kept mentally repeating was because the movie wasn’t strong enough to reign in my attention.  So if this little monster separates himself from her royal popness, I say a modest 3 out of 5 rating is certainly accurate.


6 Responses to “The Roommate (Blu-ray Review)”

  1. Aaron Neuwirth

    Having to watch this movie in a close span of time to having watched Priest, I wish I had a roommate so that person could kick me in the balls. I would feel better then, than I have after watching either of these films.

  2. Jiminy Critic

    wow, Aaron… when I watched this, it felt like I had just been kicked… not a good movie… SWF redux? no, that was actually BETTER!

  3. Brian White

    Mink was gorgeous…an exotic cross between Alba and JLo

  4. Gregg

    The animal that’s harvested for its fur?

  5. Gerard Iribe

    I have no interest in this.

  6. Brian White


    I suppose I could wear her and look good doing so! 🙂