Monday, 5 December 2011

Cry of the Owl - movie review

John Curran recommended me to give a try to Cry of the Owl, a 2008 movie based on Patricia Highsmith's book, written nearly 50 years ago and previously filmed, in a version I haven't seen, by Claude Chabrol. It's an interestingly different film, and you can never be sure how things are going to develop.

As so often with Highsmith, the characters behave oddly. A man called Forester, played by Paddy Considine, who has suffered depression and is getting a divorce from his gorgeous but rather unpleasant wife becomes obsessed by a couple who live in an isolated house in the woods. He spies on them, but in a curiously innocent way. The couple's relationship is in difficulty, and one night Jenny, the woman, played by Julia Stiles invites in the watcher. This is unexpected enough, but soon she starts stalking him. Her lover takes this amiss, and in a struggle, Forester hits him, but doesn't kill him.

However, the man disappears, and before long Forester is suspected of his murder. His world continues to fall apart. Jenny commits suicide and someone tries to kill Forester. The police react disbelievingly and he is suspended from work. I found a lot of this implausible, to say the least. And yet, strangely, I remained intrigued and wanted to find out what would happen next.

Suffice to say that the story didn't become any more plausible - far from it - but despite its flaws, I was glad I watched it. There was one nice twist and Considine's performance is very watchable. He is an actor with a good line in innocent weirdness.


Margot Kinberg said...

Martin - Thanks for this review. Odd isn't it how an implausible movie can still keep one fascinated...

pattinase (abbott) said...

The French seem to do the best job with these sorts of movies.