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“The Crowded Room” Review: A Cliché but Engaging Start

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Where to stream it? Apple TV+ 

Starring: Tom Holland, Amanda Seyfried, Sasha Lane, Will Chase, Lior Raz, and Emmy Rossum

Written by: Akiva Goldsman, Henrietta Ashworth, Jessica Ashworth, Suzanne Heathcote, Gregory Lessans, and Cortney Norris

Directed by: Kornél Mundruczó, Brady Corbet, Mona Fastvold, and Alan Taylor

Intro: The Crowded Room Review

I had no idea what to expect from this show. All I knew before watching it was that somewhere along the line a crime is committed, and that not even Tom Holland can pull off a 70s haircut. But as a pleasant surprise, the new Apple TV+ mini series is actually quite good. 

What is The Crowded Room?

The show that I am talking about is titled The Crowded Room. Even the title doesn’t give away much insight into what the show is about. At least not yet. The storyline is told to us through the flashbacks of a character named Danny Sullivian (played by Tom Holland). 

The opening scene is extremely intense, as we watch Danny and Sasha Lane’s character, Ariana anxiously shuffle through the streets of a 70s-set New York. Danny and Ariana have plans to murder a mystery man, but things go awry and Ariana flees, leaving Danny to be arrested for the crime. 

The First Three Episodes

After watching the first three episodes, I can’t fully come to a consensus about the show. I think the show has a lot of great things going for it so far. The acting is superb, the pacing is decent, and the costume design helps breathe life into the 70s setting.

But speaking of that, a few of the elements from the setting and hairstyles feel a bit too modern to be set in the 70s. Despite that minor flaw, the show is still pretty solid upon watching the first three episodes.

Holland and Seyfried Give Stellar Performances

Tom Holland gives a stellar performance as an outcast teenage boy that may or may not have committed a murder. Both Tom and Tom’s character are believable in their storytelling. Each episode leaves you wanting more and more of the story to unfold.

Danny is a highschooler that experiences torment both at school and at home. His step father is implied to be abusive towards Danny and his mother, which adds another layer to Danny’s trauma riddled life.

Rya (played by Amanda Seyfried) is the detective chosen to sift through Danny’s mind to determine whether or not he is a killer. Though Danny is a stereotype, and Rya doesn’t have much depth, Holland and Seyfried portray their characters in a way that holds the show together.

The Problem with The Crowded Room

The Crowded Room falls victim to being incredibly cliché. We’ve seen the archetype of Danny be retold a countless amount of time. We’ve seen it in the news, and then retold through documentaries, and then retold again through a fictional lens.

The show is still good, don’t get me wrong, and there's still seven episodes to go. But in order for the show to remain good, somewhere down the line, the show has to do something different. Clichés can be a good thing if done right.

But besides the entire show being very cliché, too much of the main focus is on Tom’s character. Understandably so, from a writer’s standpoint, Danny is the one telling the story, so he is bound to be the main focus. However, from a viewer’s standpoint, we don’t get to make a connection with almost any other character. 

I hope the show dives deeper into the detective, as her backstory could add another layer to the show. Danny’s slightly more interesting friend, Jonny is hinted to also be a character with a lot of complexity. Much of the show’s success will fall on whether it decides to properly represent its surrounding characters.

Final Thoughts: The Crowded Room Review

The Crowded Room should definitely be on your watchlist if you like cliché crime mystery shows (and Tom Holland). The Whodunit genre of TV and film is always going to reel people in regardless of the end result. 

Unfortunately, based on how cliché this show already is, I think we all know who the perpetrator will probably be. But with any luck, the show will do something groundbreaking, and gives us a good ending that none of us were expecting.

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Kayla Newton
Kayla Newton
Kayla Newton is a young writer from New York. She has a degree in Television and Film Production from St. John’s University. After her time in college, she decided to build her portfolio and do some video editing and screenwriting of her own. In addition to her love of tv and film, she also enjoys writing music and creating video game content as a hobby.
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