Foster & Stewart Do Home Alone
Whilst going through a divorce Meg Altman (Jodie Foster) and her daughter Sarah (Kristen Stewart) move in to a large brown stone with a bonus, the previous owner had a fully equipped panic room with enough supplies to hold out for three days. And it turns out to be a useful addition when one night Meg spots three burglars have entered their home and with Sarah they take shelter in the secure room. But not only are the burglars after something which is in the panic room but Sarah is diabetic and her medicine is in her room. With stress levels rising and Sarah's sugars dropping Meg is going to have to take a risk before she ends up in a coma.
So firstly "Panic Room" is directed by David Fincher and you can see his style all over it, from darkly lit rooms too clever camera angles. In fact some of the camera work as it effortless traverses from one room to another is stunning especially a scene which takes us across the kitchen and through the handle of the coffee pot. Visually "Panic Room" looks great and there is some terrific atmosphere going on as well, edge of the seat type stuff as things get desperate for Meg and Sarah in the panic room as Sarah's diabetes causes Meg to have to take risks to save her daughter.
But then "Panic Room" is a movie which almost seems to be a contradiction because this thriller as a "Home Alone" side where we have bad guys who are a bit inept. It's not straight out comedy but when you have these burglars bitching at each other and also one of them ending up with their arm on fire it does at times feel a little like a grown up take on "Home Alone".
It is the same with the way Meg defends herself, from using props to make something look different to how it is to using what ever is at hand to prevent the bad guys getting into the room. Some things border on the MacGyver as both Meg and the burglars get all imaginative in what they do but that makes it good fun. Although it also makes "Panic Room" nonsense as things get more outrageous the longer they go on. Add to that the fact it sways from tense thriller to being slightly amusing and it almost suffers from a bit of a split personality which will disappoint those hoping for just a tense thriller.
What is quite strange is that whilst "Panic Room" stars Jodie Foster, Kristen Stewart, Forest Whitaker, Jared Leto and Dwight Yoakam none of them deliver anything other than solid performances. No one stands out, no one really feels like they are delivering some great character, they are just doing what is needed. Part of the reason for that maybe down to the fact the visuals in the movie are great from the brilliant opening credits to the simple fireball scene in the panic room but the character writing is not so good.
What this all boils down to is that "Panic Room" is entertaining because it feels like "Home Alone" for adults, mixing thriller with the imaginative and humorous elements of defending a home against some bad guys. It's not going to be everyone's cup of tea especially those who like director David Fincher's dark thrillers but for those who are grown up and still like "Home Alone" it is worth a watch.