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Overall Rating
3.47

Awesome: 18.78%
Worth A Look37.02%
Average: 23.2%
Pretty Bad: 14.36%
Total Crap: 6.63%

14 reviews, 97 user ratings


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Panic Room
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by Slyder

"Drags At Times But Still Solid"
4 stars

I awaited this film with lots of high hopes. David Fincher is one of most talented directors out there in my opinion, since he has that rare creativity for suspense that just chills you every time you see one of his movies. Just look at Alien 3, Se7en, The Game, and Fight Club. Ok, he’s no Alfred Hitchcock but still, he manages to make it click right in thrills and suspense in every movie that he has done. His talent is also at full swing with his latest effort, Panic Room, which is based on true facts about people building “Panic Rooms” to protect themselves from thieves. I wondered how would he make such a flat idea like that to work on film? Well, he made it work… well, almost.

The plot: Divorced Meg Altman (Jodie Foster looking great after all these years) and her bratty diabetic daughter Sarah (Kristen Stewart) are looking for a new place to live, and found just the place. A huge three story real-estate house, with more rooms than your average condo, an elevator, stairs, and of course, in the main bedroom, there lies a panic room, which is a tiny room that contains everything needed for survival, and includes an alternate phone, a close circuit surveillance system and a fire/breaking and entering alarm. So they move in, and start adapting themselves to their new home, but not for long because two nights later, a trio of thugs breaks into the house. The thugs, Burnham (Forest Whitaker), Junior (Jared Leto), and the “Joe Pecsi wannabe” Raoul (Dwight Yoakam) didn’t know that there would be people living in the house, and of course, they manage to scare Meg and Sarah right into the panic room, only to find out later that what they want is a shitload of money which is hidden in a safe located at… you know where. Now it all becomes a cat and mouse chase, with the cats (thugs) trying to trick the mice (Sarah and daughter) out of their hiding to get what they want, whatever the price.

Like I said before, I never thought the idea would work, since were dealing here with a pretty flat idea. People locked in a Panic Room that nobody can enter, and these three thugs trying to get in every which way sounds more like a call to yawnville, but surprisingly it isn’t. At first the film has a rocky start due to certain difficulties in the character development and also since it takes longer than usual to bring the stuff up to date for the suspenseful part. But when it comes, the film recovers like 200% and were greeted in a series of awesome camera shots (courtesy of the legendary cinematographer Conrad Hall [American Beauty, Butch Cassidy and Sundance Kid]) which filter through every orifice in the house, from pipes to walls and pretty much whatever you can think of in a house. Fincher uses his suspense tactics to the fullest and works extremely well in the film, but within lays a problem.

Just as the suspense parts wine down, one of my fears in the film came true, well sort off. Since were talking about a pretty flat subject here, the script seems to run out of steam just as its starting to develop new ideas, since we see the three thugs just talking and talking about what they could do next to draw their prey out, plus other developments within those three characters (though the last one will wear thin within 45 minutes of the film). These segments tend to drag the film a lot, and it takes a long time for the movie to come up with the next ideas, but when it does the film manages to recover spectacularly. Thankfully there’s an upside to it, which somewhat makes up for the long splits, and it is that you never know what’s going to happen next. One side might be planning what to do next while the other must think quickly on how to counter arrest the move and plan its own strategy. It’s like a metaphoric chess game, where the players must think their strategies on how to lure their opponent out and when the time is right you strike. It’s also a cat and mouse sequence (if you want to call it that way) since the cat has to find a way or wait for an opportunity, and when the mouse is caught of guard, the cat attacks. The action scenes during the entire movie are thrilling, and I had to hold my breath several times in several of the occasions Meg had to lure herself out of the room. The psychological impact on the characters is portrayed to absolute realism, and had it’s peak when Meg’s ex-husband Stephen (Patrick Bauchau) appears for one of the most disturbing scenes in the movie where he gets beaten the shit out by Raoul. The ending was somewhat predictable, but it will still leave you on the edge of your seat. David Koepp’s screenplay is pretty much tight despite the gaps, pretty much what you’d expect from the man who adapted Jurassic Park.

The acting is pretty much perfect. Jodie Foster gives a believable performance as Meg; she pretty much steals the show. Kristen Stewart is also alright but Forest Whitaker??? Man, finally you get a decent role, and finally you remembered how to act for Fuck’s sake. Well, there goes some of your dirt from Battlefield Earth to the gutter, and lets hope you start choosing better roles like this one. Jared Leto is somewhat annoying as Junior, but still he manages to live up to standards, while Dwight Yoakam is ever soooooooo mysterious as the masked Raoul. Metaphorically speaking, Raoul is what you can call a Knight at the service of evil. He’s also great in this role. Once again, the credit goes to David Fincher, man, the guy doesn’t stop impressing me, though those flaws hamper his style in this movie, but in the suspense parts, man, not even Brian De Palma can top this guy.

In the end, do I recommend this film? Yes, lots of fun, thrills and suspense, pretty much what a summer film is about. There’s nothing much else to say about Panic Room, other that it’s way cool, near perfect and it pretty much rocks. David Fincher still keeps proving that he’s the new master of suspense of the 00’s, lets hope he keeps on rocking like he has these past 10 years. Oh, in case you forgot, see it.

link directly to this review at http://www.efilmcritic.com/review.php?movie=4733&reviewer=235
originally posted: 06/23/02 11:09:06
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User Comments

3/13/17 morris campbell tense well directed 4 stars
8/02/10 PAUL SHORTT SOLID AND ENGROSSING 3 stars
1/04/09 Samantha Pruitt interesting idea, acting is good, they seem to have though of everything! 4 stars
8/13/08 Shaun Wallner The storyline is well made! 5 stars
3/01/08 Ivana Mann Okay,we get it.Jodie Foster is one bad mutha...shut your mouth.Hollywood,please...new idea! 1 stars
2/12/08 Mike Hunt 110 minute gimmick movie. Time will not be kind to this fincher wreck. 1 stars
1/23/08 Double M A typical Hollywood thriller + Fincher's style. OK, but for Fincher, it's too disappointing 3 stars
1/15/07 Gloria Dornin I loved it, made me want to get a Panic room!! 4 stars
12/03/06 David Pollastrini not great, not terrible 4 stars
10/09/06 MP Bartley Jodie Foster, Woman of Steel! 4 stars
4/05/06 Dk Tense taught thriller that may be one of this centuries finest 5 stars
8/12/05 ES Dwight steals the show here, he's a really good actor= superb movie experience 5 stars
6/19/05 Nicole A disappoint after Se7en & Fight Club - I expected better 3 stars
4/04/05 indrid cold An odd idea for a movie. Not great but definitely "worth a look." 4 stars
2/26/05 Alice Colwell boring 3 stars
11/17/04 John Bale Smartly directed thriller with plenty of shock moments. 4 stars
9/19/04 R.W. Welch Neatly plotted cat & mouse game has some weak spots but entertains. 4 stars
8/16/04 Ana Marie It was kinda creepy... And Kristen acted well at that age. 5 stars
7/08/04 JME Not much to work with, but everyone involved pulls through - minus Koepp 4 stars
6/14/04 MyGreenBed Fincher has that great glossy-yet-arty look to his films, however this one has nothing but. 2 stars
2/04/04 Charles Tatum Unbelievable premise, arrogant direction, but great acting and pacing 4 stars
1/30/04 LIAM JACKSON i like the way raoul changes from a silent background observer to a truly menacing psycho. 5 stars
12/09/03 Samuel A very realistic film, strong performances!! 3 stars
10/18/03 Psiseeker let's keep this simple "110% TERRIBLE" If u like it, u r retarded 1 stars
8/17/03 Lorraine I love Jodie Foster but she chose the wrong movie here - rubbish 2 stars
8/13/03 It's just me I love this movie. It's really entertaining. Jodie Foster is an amazing actress. 5 stars
5/15/03 joshx42 Bad ending, good film. 4 stars
4/17/03 Nicole I expected much better 3 stars
4/15/03 reptilesni I was actually on the very edge of my seat. Some plot holes but who cares? 5 stars
3/03/03 Jack Sommersby Creatively bankrupt and lethargically rendered. Foster, though, is terrific. 1 stars
2/14/03 Andrew Carden Horrifying Film With Twisted Screenplay and Eerie Direction. 5 stars
2/02/03 paul Great suspense, disappointing ending. RUN FOREST RUN!! 4 stars
1/30/03 Ken Very tense, well-directed thriller. Best opening credits ever. 4 stars
1/14/03 Mitsaso If it wasn't for the stupid ending... 4 stars
11/29/02 Monster W. Kung STEVE, Fight Club is Fincher's best easily. Whoever thinks different is a retard, like you. 2 stars
11/17/02 PsiSeeker My ending. Forest gets $, millionairess, brat, 2 tards get offed! :-) 2 stars
11/09/02 Phil M. Aficionado Awesone, until the cliche ending. Imagination please. Great camera work. 4 stars
10/23/02 palaboy101 A fairly big part of the story centered on a product placement for NOKIA 3 stars
10/20/02 STEVE RANKS WITH THE GAME ALIEN 3 SEVEN AS HIS BEST.FORGET FIGHT CLUB! 5 stars
10/02/02 John McNew A terrific, tense and fun, edge-of-your-seat thriller! Kudos to Foster and Kristen Stewart! 4 stars
9/23/02 .Choadushouse. Beautiful direction. And great performances. Definatly worth seeing. Fincher is the man. 4 stars
7/15/02 Roy Smith Blah - made by the guy that did Fight Club? Really? You sure? 3 stars
6/23/02 David A. Not as bad as Ocean's 11, but still a boring "science of being a crook" thing. Yawn. 3 stars
6/07/02 crush I loved it 5 stars
5/27/02 Nicole Big let down if you have seen other Fincher flicks 3 stars
5/24/02 Kristen very disappointing 3 stars
5/19/02 Chowie very good, but i felt as if they just eneded the movie coz they didnt know what to put next 4 stars
5/17/02 viking well made, but not Fincher's best 4 stars
5/15/02 Stud This movie was non-stop suspenseful!! 5 stars
5/13/02 Amy I expected more from a Jodie Foster movie. 3 stars
4/29/02 dave macdougall compared to every other Fincher movie.... this one sucks 2 stars
4/25/02 Nick2k hmm...don't expect a 'surprise ending'. we need more good movies with whitaker. 4 stars
4/22/02 Monster W. Kung Very disappointing, considering this guy directed Fight Club. 3 stars
4/16/02 Lauren anyone who rates this above "average" has to get out more! 3 stars
4/15/02 Lachlan bland and shallow- the best part is the titles at the satrt of the film. the script is diab 2 stars
4/13/02 Thor-Leo A fairly satisfying ride 4 stars
4/13/02 oldgoatmon not a jodie foster movie, why did she do it? Predictible and in retrospect little movement 2 stars
4/13/02 Punky Brewster If youve never seen a thriller before in your life, you might consider this to be "Awesome" 3 stars
4/12/02 CJ one of the few movies I'd like to see again 5 stars
4/12/02 Matthew Smith one of the year's best thrillers that will have you jumping out of your seat . 5 stars
4/11/02 margie yntema awesome 5 stars
4/10/02 Janine Lay not great, too hokey, diabetic daughter pushed the limits being stuck in the room like that 3 stars
4/09/02 spikeme502 Jodie Foster has more balls than most working actors 5 stars
4/08/02 bullit17 Fincher does it again. Hand-wringing, nailbting suspense and intensity 5 stars
4/08/02 Nicole Not a typical Fincher film and not really suspenseful if you have seen any of the previews. 3 stars
4/08/02 stoolie-bird generic fast food for the brain...not worth your time or money 3 stars
4/08/02 Koitus Compared to the rest of the CRAP that the industry is putting out these days -- 4-stars! 4 stars
4/07/02 FrayLo Sure, may be corny at times, but still a good suspenseful movie. 4 stars
4/06/02 Jessi Lacking in Plot 3 stars
4/05/02 Rapper S. Delight This one's for Forest Whitaker & Jodie Foster, while Leto & Yoakam are over-the-top fun 5 stars
4/05/02 Nicholas Schoonover Most worthless movie EVER! Bought the script from a 6th grader who wrote it in 20 mins. 1 stars
4/05/02 Obi Wan Hello Claris . . .I loved your new movie that Kidman turned down! Good 4 you!!! 5 stars
4/04/02 Dave MacDougall cookie cutter bad guys..... 2 stars
4/04/02 Spanky Typical non-human-acting characters. Why such a big gap between reality tv & fictional? 3 stars
4/04/02 dannyevans good movie, but the propane would have settled on the floor thus killing them in the fire 4 stars
4/03/02 orpy entertaining to a point, stupid ending 3 stars
4/03/02 Butterbean I saw plots like this on Lifetime TV. Have your date pay for you to see this one. 3 stars
4/02/02 lauren mccreight nothing you haven't seen before.... 3 stars
4/01/02 Dr Laura Is A Bitch (Doo dah, doo dah...) Engaging, gripping, slightly disturbing. Slight constant-crisis syndrome. Get the video. 4 stars
4/01/02 spaceworm Way better than the other stuff that opened today - a classic for its weekend. 4 stars
4/01/02 KMG This movie was outstanding...but where was Lecter? 5 stars
4/01/02 CoffeeVixen jesus christ, i came close to shitting my pants over the suspense! this movie rocks! 5 stars
4/01/02 Todd Beamer Best thriller in quite some times...and it actually delivers!! Bravo!! 5 stars
4/01/02 Ziggy Stardust Stylistically perfect. Just a fun flick to see. Not as scary as one would hope. 5 stars
4/01/02 skafunkrastapunk Amazing film making. Every shot was there for a reason. Be sure to watch the titles. cool 5 stars
3/31/02 Superdave Grandtastic 5 stars
3/31/02 Olivia Sands Whatever happened to Jodie Foster? 1 stars
3/31/02 malcolm great camera work, but there's never any doubt that Foster and the kid will be OK 3 stars
3/31/02 Chuck and Fran Great movie! Would have been better with more exposition and character development. 4 stars
3/31/02 Film Dude The best movie of the year so far - but it isn't hard to beat what else I saw this year. 5 stars
3/31/02 Film Guy Finally a GOOD movie. Panic Room Delivers 4 stars
3/31/02 ajayrockrock when people "count to 3" why don't they ever kill anyone? Great Movie!!! 5 stars
3/31/02 Gary I saw this with the movieman, and I find it just as good as he did, an exciting movie 4 stars
3/31/02 Michael ***** Tihs movie was the best movie of 2002 so far(Jodie Foster kicked ass) 5 stars
3/30/02 Zero182 Top-notch thriller. The screenplay/script is superb and the tension is gripping. 5 stars
3/30/02 frank a technical masterpiece. 4 stars
3/30/02 BO Despite all the femminazi psychobabble about 'dominant sex', this was a good movie. 4 stars
IF YOU'VE SEEN THIS FILM, RATE IT!
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USA
  29-Mar-2002 (R)
  DVD: 30-Mar-2004

UK
  N/A

Australia
  11-Apr-2002


Directed by
  David Fincher

Written by
  David Koepp

Cast
  Jodie Foster
  Kristen Stewart
  Forest Whitaker
  Jared Leto
  Dwight Yoakum
  Ann Magnuson



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