Sunday 6 December 2009

Panic Room

Panic Room, starring Jodie Foster, is one of the most gripping thriller movies I’ve seen in quite a while. It originally came out in 2002, but I missed it then. The excellent reviews convinced me it was a film I had to see, and the reviews were right (it isn’t always the case, of course!)

The central idea is simple. Foster, recently split from her rich husband, and with a troublesome teenage daughter in tow, acquires a tall house in Manhattan that has its own panic room – in effect, a steel safe room where the householder can hide in the event of some form of unwelcome intrusion. It’s inaccessible, and equipped with a range of CCTV screens monitoring different parts of the house.

On her first night in her new home, Foster is disturbed by the arrival of three burglars. She flees with her daughter into the panic room – only to find that what the intruders want is inside the panic room itself.

The claustrophobic atmosphere is very well done, and director David Fincher piles on the tension with gusto. There are several heart-stopping moments, and the interplay between the ‘hostages’ and the intruders is cunningly manipulated. This isn’t a film with layers of sophisticated meaning – there isn’t much about the shortcomings of a society where panic rooms are necessary bolt-holes for the rich, for instance. But judged as a straightforward thriller, it ranks high. And above all, it is memorable for Foster’s performance. She is very good indeed. It’s hard to believe that the part was originally intended for Nicole Kidman.


Paul D Brazill said...

'Home Alone' for grown ups. It IS a CRACKING film. Tight as a ...oh, you know! Good call.

Anonymous said...

Martin - I've liked Foster in several of her roles, so I'm not surprised that she does a fine job in this one. Thanks for reminding me of this film.

Elizabeth Spann Craig said...

I remember watching the previews when it came out and wondering if I were up for it! I might have to watch it in the morning when it's daylight instead of in the evening before my husband gets home from work. :)

Mystery Writing is Murder

Martin Edwards said...

'Home Alone' for grown-ups is a memorable summary; thanks, Paul!
Margot and Elizabeth - I'm pretty sure you'd both like this film.

seana graham said...

One of the films I saw later on television--the tension would have been too much for me in a theatre. But yes, it's an excellent suspense film--maybe a little too excellent for the faint-hearted, ie, me.