Urban Cinefile
"I thought: well, you can learn at NIDA or you can go and learn in the real thing. I guess I chose the latter, and fuck, I'm glad I did that"  -Toni Collette
 The World of Film in Australia - on the Internet Updated Wednesday March 25, 2020 

Printable page PRINTABLE PAGE



Newly divorced Meg Altman (Jodie Foster) and her young diabetic daughter Sarah (Kristen Stewart) are forced to flee to the panic room of their newly rented New York home when three men force their way into the house on a mission to recover millions of dollars in a safe hidden Ė where else Ė in the same high security, purpose built safe haven called the panic room.†

Review by Andrew L. Urban:
Panic Room is absorbing and thrilling, even though itís too device-laden to be a real gem from David Fincherís cinematic talents. Propelled by an excellent cast of five, the film has the look and feel of a classic genre film, with the two female victims trapped in a room, the three male attackers in control, and the motive simply greed. And perhaps thatís where the trouble lies: the motivation is too shallow for complexity to set in, so the film has to rely on its superficial strengths for the thrills and the tension. It does that well, and the mood is singularly effective, haunting even, in a house that suddenly becomes a trap for all inside.†

Review by Louise Keller:
In one of the most ominous and original opening credits I can remember, 3D names are sprawled like giant billboards at unexpected angles across New Yorkís sky scrapers. Striking indeed and sets up the scene of impending terror. Resonating with tension, Panic Room is a gripping thriller that keeps you on edge every single second. David Fincher is a master at creating mood and this dark, moody piece becomes so claustrophobic that itís hard to breathe. With the exception of the first and last scenes that are exterior shots of New York in autumn, the entire film takes place inside this dimly lit house of secrets. What is simply extraordinary is Conrad W. Hallís lithe tracking camera work. Itís as though we are a slippery snake slithering along kitchen benches, through walls and ceilings at extraordinary speeds. Itís an effective technique that coupled with Howard Shoreís intense and often frenetic music score, makes hearts beat faster and knuckles whiten. Jodie Foster is dynamite and totally credible as the newly separated young mother who needs to use all her wiles to save herself and her daughter, using minimal reaction to maximum effect. Foster has a knack of making you feel as though you can read her thoughts with her intensity and we are right there with her through all her angst. Terrific performances all round and Dwight Yoakam is positively terrifying as the thug who has no scruples: he oozes evil. I enjoyed Forest Whitakerís security expert propelled by greed and Kristen Stewart is engaging as Sarah. Itís a thrilling ride that delves into our subconscious planting those seeds of fear that sprout and grow. Panic Room delivers on all counts so be warned Ė donít enter alone! According to various US publications, a panic room is not as far fetched as you might imagine. It seems there are enough people who are insecure (and rich) enough to pay for peace of mind against the threat of crime, terrorism and kidnappings.

Email this article

Favourable: 2
Unfavourable: 0
Mixed: 0


Andrew L. Urban meets


CAST: Jodie Foster, Kristen Stewart, Forest Whitaker, Jared Leto, Dwight Yoakam

PRODUCER: Cean Chaffin, Judy Hofflund, David Koepp, Gavin Polone

DIRECTOR: David Fincher

SCRIPT: David Koepp

CINEMATOGRAPHER: Conrad W. Hall, Darius Khondji

EDITOR: James Haygood, Angus Wall

MUSIC: Howard Shore


RUNNING TIME: 112 minutes



© Urban Cinefile 1997 - 2020