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Panic Room (DVD)

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      01.08.2011 11:20
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      Fincher not at his best

      Star - Jodie Foster Certificate - 15 Run - Time - 112 minutes Country - USA ------------------ There is no doubt Jodie Foster is an interesting actress, always playing with her sexuality on screen to keep us guessing, the strong and emancipated female, a woman that clearly doesn't need men on or off screen. She recently came out as gay and has two children by other means and so we can now see where her acting craft and emotions in those roles have come from over the decades. Director David Fincher (Seven, Fight Club and The Social Network...) initially cast the more fragrant Nicole Kidman for this one, but Kidman sustained a knee injury during the filming of Moulin Rouge! so dropped out 18 days into the filming for this, Fincher almost ready to pull the plug because of. But he persevered and said this late setback affected the film's tone, but in a positive way, commenting that: "Nicole Kidman makes you make a different movie. It's like Hitchcock casting Grace Kelly. It's about glamour and physicality. With Jodie Foster it's more about what happens in her eyes. It's more political. Jodie is someone who has spent 35 years making choices that define her as a woman and define women in film." It turns out the decision was correct as this film isn't as bad as it could have been, Foster able to make most claustrophobic style films work well, and if there are some nasty men to beat on then all the better. Kidman had already done this movie in a boat in the rather atmospheric and sexy Dead Calm (1989), presumably why she was originally cast for this, and so this would have been compared to that. Fincher, alas, was less sure about a young Kirsten 'Twilight' Stewart as Jodie's support, according to Imdb.com, describing her as 'irritating'. Incredibly, Columbia Pictures paid a record $4 million dollars for the screenplay, contributing heavily to the $48 million dollar budget. But it was pitched well to the masses by a big studio and the punters turned out, $200 million coming back the other way to date. = = = The Cast = = = * Jodie Foster as Meg Altman * Kristen Stewart as Sarah Altman [1] * Forest Whitaker as Burnham * Jared Leto as Junior * Dwight Yoakam as Raoul * Patrick Bauchau as Stephen Altman * Ann Magnuson as Lydia Lynch * Ian Buchanan as Evan Kurlander = = = THE PLOT = = = Recently divorced Meg Altman (Foster) and her 11-year-old daughter Sarah (Stewart) have just moved into a big house on the upper west side of New York City. The previous owner, a reclusive millionaire, had an isolated room built as protection incase of intruders. The "panic room" in question is made of concrete and thick steel, the doors likewise, multiple CCTV, various security systems and a separate phone line inside. Rather unfortunately for Mom and daughter, on their first night their after a long day of unpacking, the house is broken into by three men, expecting the house to still be empty. One of them is Junior (Leto), the grandson of the previous owner; Burnham (Whitaker) an employee of the residence's security company; and Raoul (Yoakam), a ski mask-wearing gunman. The guys have inside information that there is $3 million dollars of bearer bonds locked inside a floor safe in the panic room, information Meg and Sarah are oblivious to. After discovering that the Altman's have already moved in the robbers convince themselves to carry on with the heist, but now raising the stakes. Meg wakes up and happens to see the intruders on the video monitors in the panic room, slamming the doors shut with Sarah when they come up the stairs, only to find that the telephone is inoperative to call the cops. It then becomes a game of cat and mouse as the villains try to flush them out of the panic room, including pumping propane gas into the room's air vents for a nasty flare up. After some failed attempts to call for help by Meghan, including rigging the phone up to call her father, it's revealed that Sarah has diabetes and so susceptible to a seizure from the stress of the situation, but her emergency supply of insulin being in a refrigerator outside the panic room. Meg will now have to leave the room to save her daughter as the tension rises on both sides of the steel walls, especially when Junior reveals the bearer bonds are worth far more than he has been saying and so they will now do anything to get them. = = = THE RESULT = = = I suppose you could say this is the classic date flick, multiplex or DVD, the girlfriend clinging on to the boyfriend tightly at all the right moments, a Malteser or two to calm the tensions, of which there are plenty. It's more Home Alone than Hitchcock though and box ticks all of those clichés. Foster is the best at this fight for survival female role stuff and the mix of villains suitably ranged between cuddly and idiotic to pose no real threat so the film doesn't become to ugly, even though there is lots of unneeded swearing and beatings here so not for kids. Fincher moves it along nicely with lots of safe predictability and the odd twist but it's not a patch on his best stuff and has none of the style of Seven or the intelligence of Fight Club. It feels like a contracted studio movie he wanted to duck out of and so never really passes the six-out-of-ten mark for gripping entertainment. What it is though is a well made piece of modern cinema for a modern audience who don't want to be tested too much as they munch on their popcorn and sip their Pepsi at five dollar the pair. I, for one, wait for those movies to come on TV. ---The Critics--- The Daily Express -"The rich in Panic Room are under siege, and the overgrown fortress of their self-indulgence seems helpless to defend itself". The Independent - "A thinking-man's women-in-jeopardy picture, Panic Room does about as much as humanly possible with its deliberately restricted one-setting premise". The Seattle Star - "Apart from one plot twist too many, "Panic Room" is a seamless suspense-thriller with a top-notch cast". The Sun - " After his mind-bending, exhilarating Fight Club, director David Fincher takes on a more conventional Hollywood thriller". ---The Ratings--- Rottentomatos.com - Critic's approval 77% (61% users) Metacritic.com - Critic's approval 68% (59% users) Radio Times Film Year Book - 3/5 Leonard Matins Film Year Book - ¾ --------------------

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        20.02.2010 13:31
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        good thriller

        Panic room is a 2002 thriller all about a panic room in a house being used when a woman and her daughter is invaded. To be honest I hadn't really heard of a panic room before this film had come out, perhaps they are more common in America, or perhaps there rare any where, however they do actually seem like a pretty good idea, in the case of an invasion. The film is about Meg Altman and her daughter Sarah, recently divorced by a very rich business man they have just moved into a new four story home. However on the first night they awake to people burgling them, so they decided to go into the panic room they have in their new house for safety. However unknown to them, the thing the millions they want in bearer bonds, are actually inside a safe in the panic room. The gang consists of Junior, the grandson of the previous owner, Burnham, who works for the security company that look after the property and Yoakam who was brought in by junior to help assist the heist. The film is a great idea, and its nicely shot, seeing shots from the two victims inside of the panic room, to the villains trying to break into the room, and from the multiple CCTV cameras that are capturing what's going on outside the room as well. The film has some fairly jumpy moments but above all its just a great story, and very well acted and was just a really interesting watch.

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          17.01.2010 22:56
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          A good thriller froma stellar cast to add to your collection.

          ***Panic Room (2002)*** ***What's it all about?*** Panic Room is a thriller about a burglary that goes wrong. Jodie Foster (Meg Altman) plays a single mum with a young daughter (Sarah) played by Kristen Stewart, who have just moved into a new house in New York following the break up of Meg's marriage. Prior to this we see how Meg is shown around the house with an estate agent and a strange feature of the house is a 'panic room' - a specially built room meant to keep a family safe in times of distress. It is their first night alone in their new home and you quickly get a picture of how Meg is struggling with her new single life. During the night three men enter the property and by chance Meg sees them in the house by means of a video camera, when she gets up to use the bathroom. Yet, this is no ordinary burglary - what have they come for? More importantly one of the men appears to have inside knowledge of the precise layout and make up of the house... ***Cast*** Jodie Foster - Meg Altman Kristen Stewart - Sarah Altman Forest Whitaker - Burnham Dwight Yoakam - Raoul ***Opinion*** I was quite impressed with this film, especially when I found out that the author penned the screenplay in only 6 days. I am always quite keen to see films that star Jodie Foster as they usually have something decent to offer. The film gets off to quite a quick start - setting the scene nicely and introduces the mother/daughter relationship to us. You quickly empathize with them, alone in the big house. There isn't long to wait before the action starts - but be warned, whilst the plot is tense and the action gripping, the use of the f word and other expletives are numerous and may put some people off - especially as it is the daughter who throwing in a few of them. If you don't mind this then there is no problem, in fact, a couple of the times they are used in quite an amusing way. The film is pacy and has that edge of your seat feeling, as you watch the cat and mouse game unfold, between Meg, Sarah and the intruders. Oh and it is worth mentioning that the role of Meg was initially taken on by Nicole Kidman, but she had to pull out due to an injury. Watch out for her voice as the girlfriend of Meg's ex husband. There are other plot devices that add to the overall tension, Sarah is a diabetic - they have no phone etc. The whole film takes place within the confines of the house, with mostly just a handful of actors, yet even so, it never becomes boring and you are constantly trying to work out how this will all end. The soundtrack also has quite a tense feel to it, keeping the suspense going. Jodie Foster is excellent as always; she perfectly embodies the protective mother, although there is a slight vulnerability to her and you find the daughter at times taking on some of a more adult role. She looks drawn and tired; perfect as someone who is going through a difficult break up. Kristen Stewart also does a fantastic job as the feisty daughter - I worked out she was probably about 10 or 11 when this was filmed and she gave a fine performance for one so young. Some of the scenes are quite violent and she handles them well. I have seen quite a few comments about how she looked boyish in the film - yet her appearance was in keeping for someone who would have been the daughter of Jodie Foster. Forrest Whitaker is great at playing the baddie with a conscience - and there is more to his role than simple burglar. As the film progresses we find out the reasons as to why the intruders have really chosen this particular property to break into. Perhaps the star of the film was the panic room itself - which seemed like a strange concept to me - surely hiding in one, would make you feel more trapped than safe - but that is just me! The only special features on the dvd was a filmography for the major stars, which I didn't bother with to be honest. The only drawback to the film I found was the last 5 minutes or so - it seemed to end a bit wishy washy in contrast to the fine unraveling of the plot preceding it. Perhaps it was here most that the speedy writing of the script showed up. ***Availability*** I paid around £2.30 for a copy from Amazon Marketplace - which is a fab price - I couldn't rent it for that price! A good dvd to add to your collection.

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            10.12.2009 11:19
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            Well crafted thriller from David Fincher

            I was very surprised at how well this film worked. It takes what is a relatively simple and restricted idea, and creates a convincing thriller out of it, using some clever cinematography and an impressive score. It features single mum Meg (Jodie Foster) and her daughter Sarah (Kristen Stewart) as they find their old house under attack from crooks who are trying to find a fortune that is rumoured to be hidden somewhere inside by a previous owner. Money takes the centre stage as the root of all evil here as the perps will not hesitate to get the money no matter what, and Meg and Sarah end up locking themselves in the Panic Room, set up so that the house can be monitored from the inside, but sealed and securely locked so no one can get in. The problem is, the crooks (Forest Whitaker and Jared Leto) will stop at nothing to get the fortune and make sure there are no witnesses. What this winds up being is an intense and impressive thriller from David Fincher. It's certainly not his best work, but then it's not the best plot he has had to work with. Jodie Foster is exceptional as the panicked mum doing her best to protect her daughter, and Whitaker is incredibly good as the fluctuating character of Burnham, one of the crooks. Twilight fans will recognise Kristen Stewart as the vampire film's lead girl Bella, and here she does a good job, even though she takes a back seat. The action is frantic, and this is helped by a good score with a thumping drum beat and some tense strings throughout. It really adds to the atmosphere, and setting it in a modern looking house at night adds to the atmosphere even more. I was riveted throughout, and never sure if they were going to get caught, or reach help, or if one of the crooks was lurking round the corner. It was quite jumpy in places. Really, this is a very well worked film from start to finish. Part of the success is that it doesn't let up from the start. There is no relaxing in the plot, and I think this is vital to its success. Easing off the tension for one moment could have meant disaster as it would have taken the viewer out of the panicked mindset brought on by the atmosphere. In this respect, it's definitely the sort of film you're best off watching from start to finish. If you see it on a channel on TV which will have ad breaks, you'll lose some of the atmosphere, for sure. Overall, I rate this very highly. I found it intriguing and interesting. Foster has done a number of good thrillers of late. I think Flightplan was decent as well, in parts, and she has set herself a good number of projects over the past decade where she has firmly established herself as a good thriller actress. If I spot her as one of the top billings for a thriller, I'll always give it a go. Panic Room is intense and well worth the watch: just make sure you watch it all in one go to maintain the suspense level. It's currently available from amazon.co.uk for £1.86. Absolute bargain, although I'm not sure if this is a used copy or not. I would expect new DVds to be around the £4 or £5 mark. Recommended.

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              09.12.2009 18:11

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              Very good

              note: also appears in part on Flixster and The Student Room Although the likes of Se7en and Zodiac might be the jewels in the crown of director David Fincher, even his lesser films (aside, perhaps, from Alien 3), are still very good, most of all Panic Room, a cracking film that takes the thriller genre and turns it upside down, with a concept unlike any we've seen before. The film revolves around Meg Altman (Jodie Foster), a woman who has recently divorced a flush pharmeceutical honcho, and has a daughter, Sarah (Kristen Stewart). However, what they don't know is that the house was formerly owned by an eccentric millionaire who has left money in bearer bonds in the house, causing Junior (Leto), the man's grandson, as well as Burnham (Whitaker), a former security guard on the property, to attempt to break in and steal the millions of dollars worth of bonds. Once Meg witnesses what is going on, she and her daughter lock themselves inside the panic room, a room that has a thick steel door and its own security system to protect those inside. However, it isn't long before they start trying to break inside, and so they must find a way to hold out long enough that they can summon help. Panic Room takes a minimalist idea and manages to make it big and exciting due to an expertly-crafted script that is very suspenseful and intense. It may not be Fincher's best work by any means, but Panic Room is a tense and incredibly stylish thriller that is entertaining from start to finish, and benefits from Jodie Foster's typically reliable performance, as well as an unrelenting level of suspense and intensity.

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              08.08.2009 22:19
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              An awesome film, a must see

              Although it is a film with a simple title and a simple plot this film delivers a ground breaking story. I believed that Jodie Foster could in fact play another great character and has with great effect, playing Med Altman newly divorced single mother looking for a new house for her and her only child Sarah Altman. This is a house with a difference though, it has a 3 inch steel automatic panic room to keep the inhabitants safe from invaders. The only problem is, when invaders come, they did not expect that what they were looking for, was in there with them, and the thieves will do anything to get in there. This film never runs out of ideas or scenarios and each one brings new thrills, entertainment and cinematic fun. The storyline is simple but strong keeping us interested throughout the film as does the ever mounting tension that keeps us at the edge of our seat as the thieves get ever more impatient to get to their goal and the family, trapped, do what ever they can to repel boarders and try to raise the alarm. This film is also one of the many films showing us what people will do during desperation to get what they want or to protect whom they care about. It is a good movie and i would recommend anyone to go and see it for an 1hr and a half of good watching.

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                01.07.2009 01:52
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                Very disappointing effort

                I watched this film originally when it was first on at the cinema, with much anticipation at the prospect of David Fincher directing and Jodie Foster in the lead role. The film opens with a rather impressive sequence of opening credits, probably the best I've ever seen in a film before and since! Sadly, however, the film went very downhill after that - Jodie Foster plays the lead role very well, but the film never seems to go very far beyond a more gory version of 'Home Alone': the hapless villains trying to gain entry into the 'panic room' by the most comic and ridiculous means possible, whilst trapped inside are the mother and daughter spending much of the time either screaming or crying. These failings could have been forgivable, but the real crime is that as the movie progresses it fails engage the viewer to the point where they ultimately care either for the two trapped in the room or those trying to get inside of it. It's not a atrociously bad film, but the level of praise some people give this film is beyond me.

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                  21.03.2009 18:09
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                  Overall, a pretty good action movie

                  Now, a film set almost entirely in one house is always going to be a tough one to pull off, but this film manages it mostly due to its casting, allthough there are a few flaws. Though, with director David Fincher in the seat, who also directed Seven, Fight Club, and The Curious Case Of Benjamin Button, we were always going to get something atleast semi decent. It's just a surprsie Brad Pitt wasn't in this too.... Plot- A mother (Jodie Foster) and her young daughter (Kristen Stewart) have just moved into their new house in New York. It's massive, empty, and has a panic room for safety, though, unknown to them, the previous owner had stashed a vast amount of money in the house. Who IS aware of the money though is a robber nicknamed Junior (Jared Leto) who brings his buddies Burnham (Forest Whitaker) and Raoul (Dwight Yoakam) Though things don't go as planned when the family manage to hide away in the panic room and lock themselves in. The problem being of course is that the panic room is where the money is stashed... This of course leads to a plot which is as much a drama as it is a thriller. Now, of course with a film like this the director was going to have to add character traits and twists to keep things going. For instance, the young girl is diabetic, the mother is impressively aggressive, Raoul is mildly psychotic, and Durnham is warm hearted. These band together to keep things going quite nicely, and the mix of traits mean that the criminals clash with each other as much as with their captives. The acting here is pretty top notch, with Jodie Foster very believable as the extremely protective mother with a temper. Kristen Stewart, more known now as Bella in Twilight, is also great as the fairly cold and very intelligent daughter. From this movie alone it was quite clear she wouldn't only be a child actor, as she is genuinly on par with Whitaker here when it comes to believable acting. Forest Whitaker is pretty impressive, although this is no way his best performance, he manages to convincingly play the bad guy with a consciounce well. Jared Leto is also fairly entertaining as the energetic Junior, whose emotions are clearly his downfall. Leto also is probably more known for being the singer for 30 Seconds To Mars, and he is clearly a very multi talented guy. The action scenes are done pretty well, and the film never manages to get tired, even though it has quite a bit of drama in it. This is mainly because the acting is to the level where drama is actually acceptable, in the same way that Fincher pulls off drama scenes in Fight Club and Seven. There are a few possible plot holes though. It seemed odd to me that the previous owner had a very flash panic room, but the burglar is able to simply pick the lock and sneak in. I mean, what's the point of a panic room if you have no other security, thus enabling people to just walk in and you won't notice? Also, one of the burglars is an expert on panic rooms, though he didn't know you could speak in through an intercom, but the mum who has been in the house for one day did? I guess you could look past these...The owner might have had his flash locks removed by the estate agent? The intercom might be a unique thing with this one? Who knows, it's fun to pick holes in things anyway :) Conclusion- I really did enjoy this movie. A mix of good acting, a good director, and a pretty entertaining script work together to make this an above par claustrophobic thriller, that i would definately recommend to any fan of thrillers and horrors.

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                    22.02.2009 21:18
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                    If you haven't seen this I suggest you buy it!

                    Panic Room is a thriller starring Jodie Foster from 2002. It runs for approximately 112 minutes & is rated 15. It received a mainly positive reception from the critics. It grossed an estimated $196,397,415 at the box office on a budget of $48,000,000. Panic Room is directed by David Fincher who is famous for working with Brad Pitt on films such as; Fight Club, Se7en & The Curious Case Of Benjamin Button. He also worked on serial killer thriller The Zodiac. The main star of this film is Jodie Foster who I'm sure most of you will have heard of but if you haven't she's starred in films such as; Silence Of The Lambs, The Brave One, Freaky Friday & Taxi Driver. Panic Room is about Meg Altman, a recently divorced woman who moves into a new home with her 12 year old diabetic daughter Sarah (Kristen Stewart). The house isn't just your regular house though, there's something special about it. It has a panic room which is a secure room with a steal door & separate phone line. The night that Meg & her daughter move in the house is broken into (talk about bad luck!). The intruders are Junior (Jared Leto) who's the Grandson of the previous owner so knows exactly where to look, Burnham (Forest Whitaker) a security expert. Unknown to Burnham, Junior has also recruited an extra person to assist them in the robbery, Raoul (Dwight Yoakam) a dark & viscous man who will go to any lengths to get what he wants. Being alerted to the robbery, Meg & her daughter rush to what they think will be the safest place in the house, the panic room. Unbeknown to them that in the panic room there's $3,000,000 of bearer bonds which is what the robbers are trying to get hold of & will do anything to get in the panic room. I first saw this quite a few years ago when it was on TV. I had been looking forward to watching it & I wasn't disappointed when I finally got to watch it. I was really impressed. This is just the kind of film that I like, I've always liked claustrophobic thrillers so this was right up my street! I thought it was extremely tense straight away & you could sense that something was going to happen right from the off-set. Panic Room really manages to build up suspense as you wait for something to happen & when it does it becomes a very taut thriller that I was extremely pleased with. It manages to keep you on the edge of your seat right the way through to the end & you genuinely don't know what's going to happen next which is good because with so many films like this they tend to be good but very predictable & this wasn't. This was brilliant & completely unpredictable. Jodie Foster is brilliant in this role, I read that the role was initially for Nicola Kidman but after Jodie Foster's performance it's hard to imagine Nicola Kidman the role. She does however make a cameo appearance, she's Meg's ex-husband's girlfriend who speaks to Meg briefly on the phone. I think that Jodie Foster really manages to make this role her own which she does with every role. She's a brilliant actress & I can see why she's lasted so long in the business. I like the twists & turns that come in the film as you wont see them coming & they're actually very good. Forest Whitaker is great in this film as he is in every film he's in however, through no fault of his own is completely overshadowed by Jodie Foster's performance. I would highly recommend this to anybody that likes a good thriller as this is genuinely brilliant, it's tense & suspenseful & will keep you hooked right from the word go. The DVD is currently available from play.com for £2.99 however if you're willing to pay an extra £1 you can purchase the special edition 3 disc set. I just have the one disc edition which unfortunately doesn't hold any special features so I would suggest that if you're after lots of special features then go for the 3 disc edition as it's literally packed with them.

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                      06.10.2008 20:44
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                      Whitaker & Foster fail to make this anything to remember

                      Where to start? It's a robbery movie that never gets started but soon devolves into a hostage film and the robbery is soon forgotten. A builder who doesn't know his own product (Forest Whitaker playing Burnham doesn't seem know about the intercom in the room outside the panic room door), a diabetic child using an antique hypo (she'd use a spring loaded one, these are designed for kids!) also she's a diabetic who doesn't carry chocolate and her mother doesn't either? I think not! The fact that the diabetic idea is introduced so LATE in the film, prior to that most of us would have thought they just keep checking her watch to see how long it takes the police to come, 911 put her on hold? Please, don't insult us! The room only has 1 method of entry for air (the being gassed scene), wouldn't they have a back-up? This IS an enclosed room/tomb for flips sake! And why IS Raoul there anyway, can anyone tell me? Did the robbers not think to put the cameras out of action? (another mistake by Burnham!) The film is SO inconsistent, it made me feel lots was cut but it didn't help the movie at all. Also, this is a single parent family in America who don't own a gun? They may not OWN a gun but Meg Altman (played by Jodie Foster) seems to be able to use one OK. Burnham is supposed to be a builder of panic rooms, I think he's just an assistant, or even an assistant to an assistant. Why Meg didn't indicate to the police like they asked her is beyond me, the villains wouldn't have seen her make any sign, she had her back to them. Poor film, poorly planned and scripted. Foster and Whittaker should have avoided this. Director of film, be ashamed of this poor excuse for a movie!

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                        21.09.2008 16:08

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                        A well produced thriller that keeps the audience in suspense throughout

                        Panic Room is a thriller starring Jodie Foster, Jared Leto and Forest Whitaker. Jodie Foster plays the recently divorced mother who buys a large new home in New York. However, it is no ordinary house as it contains a supposedly impenetrable panic room which has cameras, a separate phone line, and other survival things, where residents can hide in case of an emergency. When they are burgled by three men the mother and daughter end up using the panic room sooner than they thought they would. However, the burglars know knowledge that makes the situation much more dangerous. The film charts the problems the two women face, including the daughters fight for life as she needs her shot which is outside of the panic room. Jodie Foster gives a really good performance, and the burglars are just as compelling. Forest Whitaker shines as a likeable security expert, and Jared Leto provides some comic relief as a talkative brat. The film has a really fitting soundtrack that helps creates plenty of suspense throughout the entire film.

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                        10.04.2007 19:27

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                        GOOD FILM DESPITE NO ACTION

                        Panic Room is a fantastic film. Jodie Fosters plays divorced woman moving into to a house she bought for her and 12 years old daughter to live on. On the first day in the house they hit trouble when a relation of the previous owner attempts a break in with couple of friends. He wants to gaina ccess to the safe in the safe room called panic room. That is the plot. Film is dark and has its moment. Little girl in the house is diabetic and she only has limited time before going in a coma. I liked Panic Room. The question is will the intruders break in? Will the girl live without insulin? Where is the police etc? These variables are played out as the film draws to close. Help comes from least expected quarters. Jodie Foster plays mothers role well. Little girl doesn't have much to do.

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                        29.03.2007 10:42
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                        Meg and daughter are trapped in the panic room in their house after a break in

                        My friend bought Panic Room on DVD about a year ago and ever since I have been meaning to watch it but haven't got around to borrowing it. However, it was after an episode of 'Family Guy' in which they take off the film that I thought I would borrow it! The only thing that had put me off a bit before was that I thought it was going to be a spooky horror film which I didn't particularly want to watch on my own (yeah I know I'm a wimp!) but it actually turned out to be a very dark and intense thriller with lots of moments that make you shout 'run you stupid woman!' at the tv. Plot ********** Meg Altman (Jodie Foster) has recently divorced from her husband and is looking for a new house to buy to live in with her daughter Sarah (Kristen Stewart) - who I have to admit I actually thought was a boy for about the first 30 minutes of the film - to start a new life. She ends up buying a huge house that used to be owned by an ill old man who had installed the main feature of the house called the 'Panic Room'. This is a highly secure stainless steel room incorporated behind the mirror of the main bedroom (where Meg sleeps) so that in case of any emergencies, the people in the house can hide in there and nobody can break in to that room. There is a toilet and medical supplies in the room among other things that come in handy throughout the film and yet no food or drink! Needless to say, the first night they stay there three men (Forest Whitaker, Dwight Yoakam and Jared Leto) break in to the house forcing Meg and Sarah into the Panic Room to hide. Unfortunately for Meg though, she doesn't realise that the men are there to collect something and the thing they want to collect is in the Panic Room! This is then the basis for the film as the men try to find different ways to break in and the trapped pair on the inside do everything in their power to stop them I wont spoil the plot too much by telling you what happens throughout the rest of the film but there are lots of events that occur which make for an interesting film. Characters ********** I thought Jodie Foster captured the part of Meg beautifully. She really made you feel for her and the things she was going through to protect not only herself but also her daughter. Kristen Stewart, who I have not seen before, is also very good at what she does (especially for a 16 year old) and portrayed the young girl, frightened but brave at the same time and also having to cope with being a diabetic (which does cause problems in the film). The three 'baddies' are fantastic in this film with Jared Leto (American Psycho, Fight Club, Lord of War) as 'Junior' - supposed to be the guy in charge but the other two don't really seem to listen to him that much. He used to be a nurse for the old man (although doesn't look much like a nurse!) and so knows what he is looking for and where it is. Dwight Yoakam (Wedding Crashers) as 'Raoul - the 'thug' guy who wears a balaclava on his head for most of the film and doesn't take any crap from anybody, and Forest Whitaker (The Crying Game, Phone Booth) as Burnham - the only one who seems to know what he is doing! I think the character of Burnham is an excellent point to the film. Although he is potentially a 'baddie', he seems to have a very good heart and doesn't want to hurt anyone and only wants to be able to take care of his children. This aspect is expertly portrayed at the end of the film when he actually made me feel sorry for him. Overall ********** Overall this was an enjoyable film. It doesn't match up with other films directed by David Fincher such as Se7en and Fight Club but it was still entertaining. There were parts of the film that were making me shout at the tv 'why don't you run', 'why don't you smash the cameras' 'why didn't you tell the police?' etc so I guess it must have had some impact! It isn't the sort of film that I would watch again and so I am glad I only borrowed it off my friend and not bought it but if you get your hands on it then I think it is worth a watch. Boring Bits ********** The extra features aren't really worth talking about, it was just an interview with the director etc, nothing particularly interesting. Running Time 107 Minutes Certificate 15 Director David Fincher Written by David Coepp (who has written other fantastic films such as Stir of Echoes and War of the Worlds As I said I did borrow this film off my friend so don't know how much it costs but I have had a look on the internet and you can pick it up from as little as £1.10 from Amazon. If you decide to watch this film then I hope you enjoy! Thanks for reading -x-

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                          20.12.2006 13:05
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                          film about two people stuck in a house

                          Panic Room stars Jodie Foster. Meg (Foster) moves out of her house that she shared with her husband. She moves into a new house in New York city with her daughter Sarah. On the first night Meg wakes up and sees three men trying to break into her house. She wakes up her daughter. In the house is a panic room where Meg and Sarah hide in. Panic room is a secure room, intruders can't get in there because the room is protected by 4 inch steel walls and in the room there is a toilet and other facilities that can keep mum and daughter for a long time. When Meg panicked she forgot to take Sarah's diabetes insulin, this reduces the number of hours mother and daughter can stay in the room. Because they are new to the house there is no phone connection so they are cut off from the outside world. The intruders are determined to get into the house because the house belonged to one of their relations and they want to get to the safe to retrieve it. Panic Room has two outstanding things about it. First of all the script is good and secondly the camera work is superb. The film gets boring after a while. I didn't get totally bored even though the story is limited to a small house and only few characters. There is a DVD on sale for this film. I watched it on a single disc edition and there were no extras there.

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                            18.12.2006 14:35
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                            Jodie's Best Thriller To Date

                            There was a time when the rich and the famous would sit safely in their secluded homes, revelling in their wealth and status, as they grew richer and more famous. Nowadays, of course, there is no such thing as safety, and the rich and famous need to go to new lengths to protect their wealth and personal security. The latest weapon in the fight against crime is to have a panic room in your house. A panic room is an impregnable place of refuge, where the occupants of a house are able to hide out in the event that an intruder makes his/her way into the home. If you think about it, if used, a panic room is the ultimate symbol of violation – a man could literally become a prisoner in his own home. This is the idea behind David Fincher’s latest thriller. Meg Altman has recently divorced her husband Stephen on the grounds of adultery and sets about finding a home for her and her daughter in New York. Stephen is a wealthy businessman, and as such, the settlement received is such that budget is not really a major issue in the search for a new house. When a very rare property comes onto the market, Meg is rushed to see it by her agent and given a guided tour. The property in question is an enormous brownstone townhouse, completely intact and in its original state and comprising several floors of accommodation. The previous owner was a wealthy, disabled man and the property retains some of the features that he had put in. There is a small elevator to all floors, but more interestingly, there is a secret panic room behind the mirror in the main bedroom. Security cameras in every room, all of which can be watched from within the panic room, monitor the house. The room has an impregnable steel door, and an isolated telephone line, so that help can be reached in the event of an emergency. Despite her reservations about the size of the property and the fact that the house is rather creepy, Meg is persuaded to sign the contract and very soon she and her daughter, Sarah are spending their first night in the property. Having had little time to attend to any of the practical details, Sarah and Meg retire for the evening, intending to get everything sorted the next day. As the pair lies asleep in their beds, they are blissfully unaware that they are about to share their home with some unwanted visitors. A trio of criminals has forced entry downstairs, in pursuit of a large sum of money that they believe has been left in the house by the previous owner. They are initially unaware that the house is occupied, but even when they realise that it is, they remain committed to their plan of theft. It is only by chance that Meg spots them on the security camera and she has just enough time to grab Sarah and get her into the panic room. Locked in the panic room, the terrified pair observe the movements of the intruders, who clearly have no intention of leaving the house. And so the stand-off begins – with the stakes increasing at a perilous rate. I can think of no other word to describe this movie than enjoyable. Given the fact that the director had previously worked on Se7en I hoped that I was in for a treat, and I have to say that Panic Room is a vintage example of how a thriller should work – but it wasn’t the masterpiece I had hoped for. The direction and camerawork employed in the film is truly artful, and creates a truly claustrophobic atmosphere from the start. If you knew nothing about the film, you could be forgiven for thinking that Panic Room was to become a supernatural thriller, as there is an eeriness about the house that unsettles you from the outset. It may be due to the fact that the house is unoccupied following the death of its previous owner, but every room in the townhouse is sinister and uninviting, with harsh, cold woodwork and enormous, daunting walls. The camera seems to follow the occupants around the house as though the viewer is in fact stalking the two inhabitants, and set against the backdrop of the house this is nightmare stuff from start to finish. The camera appears to have an unnatural means of moving through walls and floors, and across rooms, like a silent serpent stalking the shadows. You might also be forgiven for thinking that the premise of the story seems just a little bit too simple. Thieves break into house, women get locked in panic room and wait for help to arrive. I’m not going to try and fool you – this is nearly exactly how the frame of the film is constructed. The art in this particular piece of storytelling is using tension and circumstance to gradually craft a sense of desperation and a fight to the death. Certain elements of the plot are entirely predictable, but the premise of the film revolves around these things, and without them, the film would struggle to exist. For instance, it seems rather daft that Meg has not had the isolated telephone in the panic room connected – without it, she and Sarah are cut off. These things have to be the case in a film such as this or we would end up watching one and half-hours of nothing, as the two women sit in the panic room calmly waiting for the arrival of the police to rescue them. Nonetheless, there are a few unexpected twists and turns to enjoy – this film is far from predictable. That isn’t to say that the way in which events are played is entirely satisfying. Despite its inevitability, I still found the lack of phone line rather irritating and many of the events thereafter do seem a little far-fetched. At times, the action nearly strays into the comical territory of Home Alone, but fortunately, Fincher manages to retain a nasty edge that reminds you that this is, in fact, an adult’s movie, and not a family film. The behaviour of some of the characters manages to defy believe, in all the usual “suspense thriller” ways, but once again, you do really have to put your common sense to one side with films such as this. The biggest let down for me was the climax of the film, which was built up superbly and then betrayed the strength and determination of the characters horrendously. I very seldom watch a film and find myself with a clear idea of how I would change a whole scene, but Panic Room’s conclusion had exactly this effect on me. One of the reasons that this film works quite well is that it manages to play on fears that so many members of the audience will have. I think my greatest fear in life is of being woken in the night by an intruder in the house, and this film really brings home how vulnerable we all are as sleep in our beds. The concept of a panic room symbolises the lengths to which we will go to protect ourselves and amply demonstrates how people seem to live in fear. It also transpires that Meg is actually claustrophobic – so being shut in a very small room is not really going to be her idea of a good time. If you are claustrophobic, much of this film will probably leave you feeling rather unsettled. There is only one scene in the film I recall Meg and her daughter actually appearing unrestricted in any way whatsoever. It’s quite some time now since I saw Jodie Foster in a film (Silence of the Lambs actually) but in Panic Room she really shines. She has never looked so good, with a beautiful figure and an intellectual-cum-sex kitten pair of glasses. Her portrayal of Meg Altman is very strong – thank goodness she never descends into screaming girlie mode – and proves to a worthy adversary for her three intruders. The only other name that was familiar to me in the cast list was Jared Leto, who starred as one of the three robbers, but he only has limited appeal, and I doubt even his teenage fans will particularly admire his knitted hair cut. Most people that I speak to like this film, and rightly so. It is tense, exciting and extremely well made. For me, the climax was a real let-down but I can forgive Fincher that one indiscretion as the rest of the film was more than entertaining enough to compensate. Recommended – unless you are claustrophobic.

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                          • Product Details

                            An effective exercise in "confined cinema", Panic Room is a finely crafted thriller that ultimately transcends the thinness of its premise. David Koepp's screenplay is basically Wait Until Dark on steroids, so director David Fincher (Seven, The Game) compensates with elaborate CGI-assisted camera moves, jazzing up his visuals. A relocated New York divorcée (Jodie Foster) and her diabetic daughter (Kristen Stewart) fight for their lives against a trio of tenacious burglars (Jared Leto, Forest Whitaker, Dwight Yoakam) in their new Manhattan townhouse. They're safe in a customised, impenetrable "panic room", but the burglars want what's in the room's safe, so mother and daughter (and Koepp and Fincher) must find clever ways to turn the tables and persevere. Suspense and intelligence are admirably maintained, with Foster (who replaced the then-injured Nicole Kidman) relying on her Silence of the Lambs resourcefulness. It's not as viscerally satisfying as Fincher's previous thrillers, but Panic Room definitely holds the viewer's attention. --Jeff Shannon, Amazon.com