USA 2002, dir. David Fincher, stars Jodie Foster, Kristen Stewart, Forest Whitaker
Panic Room is a traditional film – there are clearly defined boundaries between who are the good guys and who are the bad guys. Where this film excels at being different is in the fact that it is as crazy as a box of monkeys.
For the duration of the movie we are held hostage with both the good and bad guys within the confines of a newly purchased and immense house owned by Meg Altman (Jodie Foster) within this behemoth is a ‘panic room’ equipped with video surveillance of the whole house and locked up like the human-safe it is. On the first night in the new house … well you know the drill.
As with Fincher’s previous outing in The Game it is not always the most complex of plots that can create a great movie. The acting is excellent, especially from Stewart the diabetic daughter underpinning Foster’s over-protective mother who at times turns the terror around so that you never really quite know where the next scare is coming from. It has its Fight Club moments, it has its Se7en moments, but better still it has its Panic Room moments.
Of course you do scream at the screen because it’s cat and mouse by numbers. But not quite. Fincher’s numbers are unquestionably different to most directors and Panic Room left me decidedly unsettled. And that hasn’t happened whilst watching a movie for a long, long time.
16th April, 2002
by Adam Maxwell