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Panic Room
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Panic Room Review

Directed By: David Fincher.
Starring: Jodie Foster, Forest Whitaker, Jared Leto, Dwight Yokum.

You like a good thriller, the kind that will drive your knuckles white from gripping the seat in the theatre? Well then folks, Fincher has delivered one for you.

Unlike some of his other films with some very large scope and an array of character dementia to deal with, Fincher and screenwriter David Koepp have kept the rules of the game very simple. People have broken into a brownstone recently bought by Meg Altman and now Meg and her daughter are confined in the Panic Room. A small impenetrable room made of steel and concrete. All they have to do is hold off the bad guys and survive...something which seems so simple but Meg's daughter is slowly going into sugar withdrawal from her diabetes and Meg has a fear of confined spaces...oh and the bad guys...they are busy trying to find a new way to break in as well.

Oddly, though the 'bad' characters are pretty standard...the one with the plan and the knowledge, the reluctant guy and the psychotic armed guy, Fincher keeps the camera moving steadily to keep the movie flowing and glossing over all the weaknesses like these.

The casting of Jodie Foster is a fortunate thing in this case... (Small trivial note: Jodie Foster dropped off the Cannes Jury in 2001 to star in this film instead. This stems from the fact that Nicole Kidman's knees were still pretty messed up from her stint on Moulin Rouge.) With Jodie in the role, not saying anything against Kidman, we have a strong, intelligent woman who can open a movie and really bring us into the events, even if some may seem implausible.

Fincher recalls some Fight Club techniques in his Computer Generated camera moves (a stunning one that ramble all over the brownstone as the bad guys break in is worth watching over and over) which enables the audience to really get a feel for the layout of the house. It is hard to write about a thriller and not give anything away. so I will skip all the details and head straight into performances...top notch stuff here. Jodie is great...honestly, she's like Ed Norton, you may not like all their films, but they both give great performances consistently. As for Kristen Stewart...I'm not a fan of kids in the movies usually but here they have a child playing her years, dealing as well as she can within the situation and not being overly precocious or disturbingly inventive with household products.

With afterthought this movie may not be a precious gem in the film community, but what counts with a film like this is the experience during the film, and it works...it is involving, it is tense, and it is not (as some jerk in the audience said) like Home Alone.

The plot may sound simplistic but David Koepp has written some minor gems like The Trigger Effect and Stir of Echoes and he has succeeded here as well. Sure he wrote Jurassic Park: The Lost World but I am sure Spielberg was to blame for adding the gymnastic kid and not Koepp. With David Fincher directing one thing is for certain...if this film is a smash or not it is bound to have one great DVD package. Fincher is one of the reigning kings of the great DVD package...a close second is Kevin Smith.

One final word of praise...loved the opening credits...a stylish way to open a very stylish thriller.

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Copyright© Written By: Rob Paul



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