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PANIC ROOM ,2002
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PANIC ROOM, 2002  MOVIE POSTERPANIC ROOM, 2002
Movie Reviews

Directed by: David Fincher

Cast: Jodie Foster, Kristin Stewart, Forest Whitaker, Jared Letto, Dwight Yoakam, Ian Buchanan
Review by Jarred Thomas


SYNOPSIS:

A woman and her teenage daughter become imprisoned in the panic room of their own house by 3 criminals.

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REVIEW:

A well crafted and captivating film elevated to a higher level by David Fincherís excellent directorial talent, Panic Room is an engaging and above average thriller. Itís the style of the film that is more memorable than the story itself. The way Fincher directs Panic Room sets it apart from other thrillers making it entertaining and suspenseful to watch.

The cast does a solid job. Jodie Foster plays a recently divorced mother with her daughter, the then not so famous future Twilight star Kristen Stewart. The premise is simple. A mother and her daughter get stuck in their own house in a panic room while three criminals try to break in to steal bonds located in the room. But Finch does a fine job of creating tension with the stellar cinematography, which in many ways, is the star of the film.

The three criminals include the typical overly aggressive leader, Letto, the sympathetic thief only does this for the sake of his family, Whitaker, and the mysterious brooding man behind the mask, Yoakam. Yet the supporting cast does a fine job, each one playing well against other. Both Whitaker and Yoakam really stand out here.

They seem to play off each other the best, and thatís good because they're on screen the most. Yoakam is absolutely menacing hiding behind a ski mask that only adds to his mysterious and intimidating nature. His character versus Whitakerís misunderstood good guy makes for an interesting and combative dynamic.

Since Fight Club, Fincher said in interviews that he wanted Panic Room to be the darkest film he ever did, and it is. There is barely any light in the film, most coming from flashlights, candles and streetlights. But it works. There is a tense and dark atmosphere throughout the picture that heightens the suspense. There is a lot to admire in Fincherís film, particularly since he is taking a rather simple plot yet through his excellent camera work presents something new and fresh.

As the trio try to break in, Fincher glides the camera across every part of the house, just as the noise they make travel throughout every corner. Itís a great sequence and just one of the many tricks he uses. Some may see it as showy, but even if it is, doesnít it work? Well, yeah. Showy can be good as long as it doesnít take away from the movie. Fincher knows that and uses his camera trick scarcely yet effectively.

Not the greatest of thrillers but certainly entertaining and worth a look. The strong performances and sterling camera work provide a new take on the tired genre. The trapped confined space is probably the best part of the film because you feel trapped in there with Foster and Stewart. Itís really well done. One of the most entertaining and suspenseful thrillers to come out lately, Panic Room is a fun and captivating film worth your time. Look for it.

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