Panic Room is fairly easy to describe. Meg (Jodi Foster) and Sarah Altman(Kristen Stewart) move into their swanky new home in New York City. You get some vague background on them, but not a lot. They move in and still unpacked, a couple of dudes break in. Fairly simple. The apartment has a safe room, or panic room, and Foster and Stewart hide there. The baddies want in because the previous owner stashed a large sum of money in there. Not much else going on. Foster’s character wants to protect her daughter and keep them both safe and the robbers(Jared Leto and Forest Whitaker) just want to get in that room to for the cash.
The movie is really good considering a lot of it is the small cast just sitting around trying to figure out what to do. It’s one of those movies that makes you want to yell at the screen to give advice (to either side really). Details about the characters and what is going on slowly develop, which is nice. It helps make up for a lack of action. You don’t know a lot going in, so using some of the sit and think time to give you info on the characters helps maintain the suspense without actually addressing the situation.
What really makes this flick work though is how David Fincher sets everything up visually. Even before we get to the break in, everything is dark and gloomy. It just reeks of “something bad is going to happen or already has.” The house is incredibly creepy. Great job with lighting and choosing how to focus on how to frame doors, halls, windows, etc. The camera work really helps with this. The camera moves constantly. The camera is basically another intruder that just creeps around the house and is able to float in mid-air, up steps, through walls and floors, etc. The camera is unrestrained by anything physical. It can break in anywhere unnoticed. Helps keep things creepy.
Jodi Foster really helps keep the movie going. I think that with any other actress the movie would be something different. I think a lot of it has to do with an audiences perception of her. There are a number of her roles that seem to define how you view her.
Good simple psychological thriller.
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