The Chamber is a thriller set aboard a commercial submarine in Korea’s Yellow Sea. Weathered Submarine Captain, Matz (Johannes Kuhnke), is tasked with escorting a mysterious American special-ops team, led by the no nonsense commanding officer, Edwards (Charlotte Salt).
Things go wrong when the merchant vessel they are tethered to is boarded by the North Korean Navy. Our crew is left stranded in a life-or-death race against time, 40,000 leagues under the sea.
The Chamber is one of those dudes-stuck-in-a-room type of movies. You know the type, you stick a bunch of relative strangers in a room, sprinkle in a bullshit situation and watch the fireworks fly (think Circle, Cube or The Exam), but the success of such a movie is hinged on having a great premise and the actors to pull it off - essentially they are theatre plays.
This type of thing is right up my alley; these movies at their best, focus on interpersonal relationships, conflict and self preservation versus sacrifice. The Chamber fails to take its premise and turn the resulting human drama into anything compelling.
Johannes Kuhnke’s performance is the only one of any note. While everyone is serviceable, they are never truly believable; the motivations of some of the characters and their moral positions seem to turn on a dime, often not making any sense, making it hard to connect to anything happening on screen. This disconnect is exacerbated by the extremely surface-level nature of any interpersonal conflict that arises.
The Chamber just isn’t compelling or entertaining enough to make you truly care what happens to anyone on the Submarine. Also, the reason for being down there in the first place is poorly explained, doesn’t really make that much sense or seem as desperate as it’s made out to be.
It’s a shame, because it’s shot very well and is an interesting premise that seems like it could go places. In the end, the execution is just not on point, making this a disappointing thriller that would be passable on Netflix but a bad value proposition on the big screen.