Panic Room

From the director of The Game, Fight Club, and Seven, David Fincher has chosen an urban thriller starring Jodie Foster to show off his slick and stylized filmmaking prowess. The Panic Room refers to an impenetrable shelter, complete with steel door, concrete walls, and separate phone and ventilation systems built into a four-storey New York brownstone, formerly owned by a rich, paranoid businessman, just in case of a home invasion. Recently divorced and emotionally-bruised Meg Altman (Jodie Foster) and her tomboyish daughter Sarah (Kristen Stewart) move into this sprawling bit of upper-middle class real estate, o­nly to be invaded by thugs o­n their first night home. This is no amateur heist, as the three culprits (Forest Whitaker, Jared Leto and Dwight Yoakam) have cased the joint beforehand, certain that the fortune hidden in the panic room would be an easy score in an occupant-less house. So commences the stand-off siege, with Meg and Sarah locked in the room, and the crims trying every trick in the book to get them out. As the struggle continues, the crooks get variously burned and battered by a desperate mother defending hearth and home, and turn against o­ne another in the process. The superlative cinematographic team of Darius Khondji and Conrad Hall (from Seven) regroup to record the action with seamless and artful camerawork, diving through walls, and gliding up and down staircases, rendering the requisite claustrophobic situation. The o­nly thing missing is an emotional commitment to character development. With all the elaborate technical display of fluid camera tricks and polished editing, we donít really get to see "what their motivation is." Maybe this is the new hallmark of the contemporary thriller, slick but superficial. 

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