PANIC ROOM     - A Narada Film Review

 Jared Leto as ''Junior'',
 Forest Whittaker as 'Burnam'.  
 Jodie Foster as ''Meg Altman'',
  Kristan Stewart as daughter ''Sarah''.   
   Jodie Foster wields a
    newly appropriated equalizer.
Panic Room , Directed by David Fincher , Produced by David Koepp .

      Viewed On 03 June 2002 .

      What do you get when you combine brilliant camera with superb special effects?    Magic .    Director David Fincher excels this time around at directing the camera.    The stars hardly need it - firstly, they are the professionals we have grown to expect, and secondly, the plot is so straightforward it might not have otherwise required a director.

      Newly divorced Meg Altman ( Jodie Foster) discovers the new house she is about to move into has a "panic" room; a secret room that can be used in emergencies.    She is uncomfortable even being inside the panic room - it is not a big selling point with her, but the pre-teen daughter Sarah ( Kristen Stewart ) falls in love with the room - forget the rest of the house.

      Luckily, they won't need the panic room, ...not until the first night, that is... when they discover three men have broken in.   Meg and Sarah make it to the panic room in time to avoid them, at least for the time being, but as bad luck would have it, the burglars, Raoul the psycho (Dwight Yokum ), Junior the phrenetic relative (Jared Leto) , and Burnam the street-wise ( Forest Whittaker ) seem to need something in the room.    It becomes immediately apparent that this is an "inside job".

      The story unfolds in linear fashion from here, and one would think that with everything so seemingly predictable, it would be hard to hold viewers in suspense.   However, one would be dead wrong - one must not forget, one is in Director Fincher's manipulative hands.

      If Panic Room had any weak points, we could start with the contrived attempt at additional tension;- two people trapped in a small room, one a claustrophobic, the other a diabetic in need of an immediate insulin injection.    The film was certainly not lacking in excitement, and this highly unlikely embellishment came off as entirely superfluous.   Oh, and we get to see Jodie urinate.    Is this the new Millennium's legacy?    Proof of cinematic maturity?   What?    They all seem to be doing it these days, from Julia Roberts on down.   Surely, there must be better ways of padding a film that might be running 15 seconds too short.   We also get to see her adjust the toilet seat in a most politically correct manner, but this reviewer is too much the gentleman to go any further with this.

      Nevertheless, one walks out of the theater feeling it was all worth it -despite the nagging suspicion that with Fight Club Fincher at the helm and Foster walking point, they could shoot a senior citizen's bingo game and hold us firmly in our seats, gripping the arm rests for dear life.

       Enduring Line Or Phrase:   "Dad's rich, Mom's just mad."

  Reviewed by Narada for Bangkok Eyes - 03 June 2002

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