Jakub Gierszal did not receive an Oscar nomination for portraying Dominik Santorski in Suicide Room.
Jakub Gierszal's performance begins in as an unassuming enough
portrayal of just a pretty standard teenager. He comes from a privilege
due to his successful parents, and seems to be popular enough in school.
His parents though are shown to be somewhat detached, more interested
in their careers in general, and Dominik seems to have just a slight
twinge of discontent in him though in a fairly standard way. Gierszal's
performance works well in these early scenes in just being just about an
average teenager. He brings just a bit of moodiness, and even a bit of
ego, that possibly could easily stem given his parent's wealth, that
Gierszal makes very natural. This is worth nothing because although the
behavior is unlikable, Gierszal makes it at least somewhat less so by
making the behavior genuine. Gierszal's performance is unassuming in the
right way in that he makes Dominik just as he should be no more no
Everything seems fine for Dominik, despite a sudden fascination with a video of someone slicing their arm with razor, and Gierszal's portrayal confidence of this comfort that helps Dominik go along with the dare that begins his downward spiral. The dare being to kiss one of his male classmates, which he does. This in itself does very little, though Gierszal is good at just realizing kind of thrill of the act for Dominik. That thrill which goes a bit far when another encounter with the same young man, goes a bit further accidentally for Dominik. The act though quickly leads to Dominik being widely ridiculed online, and we get the first breakdown scene by Gierszal. It is unfortunately his worst scene in terms of his performance. The scene itself requires an extreme reaction to echo Dominik's vulnerability, but Gierszal goes in the wrong direction with. He goes too in the theatrical direction with his waving of his arms, and his screams that are basically too clean. It feels like an actor's breakdown which is ill-fitting for the film, and the character.
Dominik's early attempts to deal with his life lead him to a depression, which is well portrayed by Gierszal in the margins of his performance. He creates the very real sense of someone just having a weight of despair around them at all times that keep him at a distance. Dominik in some way to combat his problem begins to act out by basically being more "emo", and having lapses of strangeness, such as when kisses a statue. The sense behind these actions seem to be to reflect Dominik's growing unease, however Gierszal never quite attaches that to these individual moments. In fact that seem rather calm, and not too calm that it would still be unnerving. Well eventually Dominik completely closes off by becoming part of a strange online community that seem obsessed by suicide. He becomes obsessed with the chat room of sorts, and the film often becomes basically an animated feature at times by depicting the virtual reality of the room.
These scenes don't add up to much, though they depict Dominik falling into a world of his own to avoid the one on the outside. In the few moments where we do see him visually, Gierszal does well in portraying the contentment of this escape of sorts, while also portraying the intense nervousness whenever his parents attempt to take him away from it. His parents eventually force him away from it all, but the son still attempts to connect to it by taking a box of potentially deadly pills to meet with a girl he had met in the chat room. It seems that they do meet up and Gierszal is moving in portraying finally a true happiness with another real human being. This is brutally shown to be false vision as the actual last scene we are given is after Dominik has swollen the pills, and is dying. Unlike his previous meltdown, Gierzal excels in revealing the terrible details of Dominik's end with his delivery of broken pleads while showing the physical pain as he collapses from the pills. Gierszal's work is inconsistent though still effective in revealing the unpleasant decay that ends in suicide.