Stars: Jodie Foster, Kristen Stewart, Forest Whitaker, Jared Leto, Dwight Yoakam
Director: David Fincher
Writer: David Koepp
Panic Room is your basic tale of woman and child in jeopardy, alone in a big house on a dark and rainy night. The protagonists, in this case, are Jodie Foster as Meg Altman and her teenaged daughter Sarah (Kristen Stewart) who have just moved into their new abode, a well appointed upper west side NYC brownstone that used to be owned by some millionaire who had the foresight to install a panic room for extra security.
On their first night in the house intruders enter setting the cat and mouse game into motion. The women ensconce themselves inside the panic room while three bad guys head their way, dead set on gaining entry into the room where they believe is hidden a fortune. The intruders are comprised of a young creep (Jared Leto) who organized the adventure; Forest Whitaker, a concerned family man who worked for the vault company, and is in desperate need of money and the requisite psycho, Dwight Yoakam as Raoul. Throughout, Meg proves to be quite the woman to have around, resourceful in every way, even able to splice phone wires and turn the tables on the intruders.
The best thing about the film is the imaginative camera/crane/computer work with shots zipping and swooping up, down and around its four floors to follow the action or serve as an indicator of who’s where. We get overheard shots, extreme low shots shots through keyholes and even a nifty one through the handle of a coffee pot. It makes your heart swoon.
Lotta says this is serviceably suspenseful, if not wholly believable, and only because Jodie Foser has the authority to pull it off. But, sadly, there is not one thing special about her character or that of the daughter that makes you care one iota about either of them. There’s more feeling for the absent ex-husband (Patrick Bauchau) who shows up late in the movie and is consequently terrorized by the thugs.