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Dan the Man's Movie Reviews

All my aimless thoughts, ideas, and ramblings, all packed into one site!

Panic Room (2002)


Home Alone 4: The Revenge

This thriller centers on a divorcée (Jodie Foster) and her daughter (Kristen Stewart) who are caught in a deadly game of cat-and-mouse with three burglars (Forest Whitaker, Jared Leto and Dwight Yoakam) in their New York City brownstone, retreating to the vault-like safety of their aptly named panic room. As the intruders try to breach the room’s security, the embattled duo must stay one step ahead.

Out of all of David Fincher‘s films, this one is considered his weakest (that’s if you’re not including Aliens 3). However, this one isn’t so bad, considering it’s his most Hollywood-friendly film to date.

What Fincher does best here is make this pretty simple plot, and make it something that leaves you on the edge of your seat, the whole time. The dark style that Fincher uses works well for this film because it takes down the idea that your house is a beautiful little place, that no intruders can ever get into, and thinking about somebody breaking into our place is just unsettling to think about.

Fincher takes his dear old and sweet time with this pace which makes all of the suspense a lot more taut, and keeps you guessing even though you have a feeling you know what’s going to happen next. There’s a couple of cool camera-tricks that Fincher uses to fully get us knowing that we are in this one little house, with these people, and basically trapped with no way out. It’s crazy because Fincher really tools with our mind in all the right ways, and makes this film more than just your simple, average hostage-thriller.

The main problem with this film is not in Fincher’s directing as much as it is in the story itself. I liked the whole plot and thought it was simple enough to be thrilling but I did find myself guessing just what was going to happen next, and woolah, it did. The problem here is that three bad guys here just so happen to be a bunch of misfits that are pretty much psychopathic, or inexperienced with the exclusion of one person, who is pretty easy to figure out right away. In a way, I knew who was going to die, and who wasn’t (or in this case, who can’t) and what was going to happen in the end. However, I was still in suspense the whole time really.

From what I heard, Fincher was going to cast Nicole Kidman in the lead role but then she messed up her knee or something so she was put as a cameo here, and I have to say that I’m glad that they chose who they chose. Jodie Foster is really good in this role because she starts off all nerdy, and actually sad, but then turns into this vengeful, stop-at-nothing, crazy ladies who wants nothing but to get out of this situation alive. Foster is very good at driving all these emotions from her character just from her facial expressions, and although she almost rarely smiles in this film, she still is a delight to watch. Kristen Stewart does a good job in a very early role, and will probably stop any Twi-hard fans from having any boners over her after watching this. Forest Whitaker, Jared Leto and Dwight Yoakam are all good as the bad dudes, and each contribute great performances for three guys that you wouldn’t expect to actually be written well at all. Pretty small cast, for a relatively small film, but overall good job from the whole cast involved.

Consensus: Panic Room may suffer from it’s script, but David Fincher creates suspenseful tension and makes this simple plot, better than just your average-thriller.

8/10=Matinee!!

8 responses to “Panic Room (2002)

  1. Sam July 17, 2011 at 4:43 pm

    Hmm.

    Like Fincher .. this is just one of his few films I haven’t seen.

    Nice review.

  2. Dan July 17, 2011 at 10:17 pm

    It’s funny that you should happen to review this now, I just saw it for the first time a couple of weeks ago. I thought it was a reasonably entertaining idea, but it just didn’t have enough meat to justify a two hour film. Even so I’m glad to have seen it, if only so I can now have a fuller picture of Fincher’s career.

  3. scarletsp1der July 20, 2011 at 1:10 am

    I like the fact that you review so many movies new and old here, man!

    Panic Room is full of suspense. I just couldn’t help but feel a bit ho-hum about Jodie Foster in this one though. ha, Felt I’d seen it before. I actually enjoyed Forest Whitaker…even though…once again…I’d seen him do that kinda passive-aggressiveness before too. but it’s fun.

    mainly I just dropped by to say “What’s up?!” but saw this review which is an enjoyable read like all of yours are! Nice work! Have a good week man.

  4. fogsmoviereviews July 27, 2011 at 6:23 pm

    Cool. This was the one Fincher film I haven’t gotten around to yet, and its good to hear it’s an 8 out of 10 at least.

    I hate when directors I love have a blight on their resumes.

    I keep intending to catch this, and its out on cable right now. I really have no excuse.

  5. Pingback: Top 10 Movie Actors « Radu presents: The Movie-Photo Blog

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