Sunday, May 13, 2012
PANIC ROOM (2002)
Directed By: David Fincher
Written By: David Koep
Cinematography By: Conrad W. Hall & Darius Khondji
Editor: James Haygood & Angus Well
Cast: Jodie Foster, Forest Whitaker, Jared Leto, Dwight Yokam, Kristen Stewert, Paul Schulze, Ian Buchanan, Ann Magnuson, Patrick Bauchu
Recently divorced Meg Altman and her daughter Sarah have bought a new home in New York. On their tour around the mansion, they come across the panic room. A room so secure, that no one can get in. When three burglars break in, Meg makes a move to the panic room. But all her troubles don't stop there. The criminals know where she is, and what they require the most in the house is in that very room.
The film is literally style over substance and has little nuances that make the film exciting.
The film has 3 actors who have all directed their own films. SO you can imagine the undertaking Director David Fincher was taking on. In fact Nicole Kidman was first cast and 18 days into filming had to drop out to get knee surgery. So Jodie foster was a last minute replacement. Fincher wanted to scrap the film after Kidman dropped out and told the studio to just scrap it for the insurance money. He had already Recast the daughter from Hayden Panitierre to Kristen Sewart as he found Panitierre reportedly irritating. Jodie foster actually dropped out of Being the Jury president at cannes to star in this film while pregnant.
How at first the criminals seem defined Forest Whitaker the safe cracker forced into it and Raoul played for Dwight yokam the cool mysterious muscle while the movie goes on Forest Whitaker morphs into the leader and the the smart schemer at first he is reluctant then becomes driven. Dwight Yokam at first is cool he is still blood thirsty but loses his cool continuously gets messy and gets unhinged. Jared LEto stays the comic relief with the hip thug look who come up with the plan.
While you care about the peril of Jodie Foster and her daughter we spend more time with the villains getting to know them so you root obviously for the victims, But don’t hate all of the villains at least not all of them. They become human and not just faceless villains to drive the story.
The men characters aren’t just victims writing to see what happens but plucky full of ideas trying to over smart the perpetrators so instead of a film that rests on just the idea of the panic room of the title slowly breaking down. The story and characters evolve.
The film is cut and dry and the only one of David Fincher’s films that doesn’t feel epic once it’s over, it’s over no mythology no continuing saga. No continuous even THE GAME cut and dry has a open ending. This films weakness is allowing the film not to end in the courtyard with Forest Whitaker but to go on for a few minutes to see Jodie Foster and Kristen Stewart in the park.
David Fincher creates another memeorable title sequence. That is more design then anything as far as action and plot.
The film s shades of THE TREASURE OF SIERRA MADRE. With the morphing desires of the characters.
The film is very clean and had a distinct look.
This film seems to be more about practicing style and applying it to a basic paint by numbers run of the mill thriller. The filmmaking style of David Fincher makes this film more delightful then it would be in some other director’s hands. Who would have most likely made this a very forgettable film.
David fincher originally intended for the film to be a low budget b movie. Then designed it to be quite a bigger production then expected. A logistical nightmare is how he phrased it. the film was shot in sequence. --It’s a film that can be watched many times just for the design of the film. It’s like watching a modern Alfred Hitchcock film with a lot less Psychological intrigue.