Double Take: Panic Room

For Flashback Friday this week I decided to do Panic Room with Jodie Foster and Kristen Stewart. When I saw this film back in 2002, David Fincher had already given me one of my favorite movies of all time to this day and that was The Game with Michael Douglas. Excellent film. Fincher definitely has a range in his films directing and I feel like Panic Room is just one of those unique films that took something that could have been so one note and developed a solid thriller. I wanted to re watch this film because a lot has changed since than. Of course, I have more thrillers under my belt so I feel like I’ve seen a lot of films that would make an almost 2 hr film take place in a home about a room the whole time wouldn’t be as entertaining as it was when I first saw it in theatres. Also, Kristen Stewart hasn’t really had the best of luck with Twilight series behind her belt and the Snow White and the Huntsmen. Most people believe she is very one note. So I wanted to see if that would affect my viewing watching it again after 14 yrs.

“Let me go on record and say that despite what you think of Kristen Stewart right now, Stewart’s performance in this film is bad ass.”

Watching this film was a delight to watch again. I was reminded of how impressive this movie was on creating so much suspense and edge of your seat moments. First lets talk about the plot. It is a home invasion movie and we have seen plenty of those. Home invasion movies are still pretty effective to this day if done right. What is good about this one of course that it all takes place within 24hrs. I always say that some of the best films ever made take place within a day. The unfortunate circumstance of being invaded on your first night in your new home has got to be terrifying. Also the uncertainty and unstable tension between the burglars who come in just makes everything seem like anything can happen. Jodie and Kristen play a mother and daughter duo who retreat to a panic room in the middle of the night after spotting that 3 individuals have entered her home. They make it to the room but that isn’t the end, they are not safe. The intruders are there for one reason and that reason is actually in the panic room. Let the games begin.

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I thought the writing was suburb making both the heroines and villains actually smart in how they handled this pickle they were in. Our villains did their homework in the plan to get in and get out while no one was there. They also stayed true to their motives good or bad. They were not amateurs. Jared Leto, the mastermind, played this narcotic probably high from some kind of drug, who rocked corn rolls like a boss. Forrest Whitaker, the brains, worked for the company who created and perfected the panic room, was the moral compass of the group doesn’t believe in violence but is desperate enough to still for his own personal gain, then you have the masked for most of the film Dwight Yoakam, the muscle who is just in it for the money. Don’t stand in his way because the man will do anything for the payday and not let anyone get in his way. He was pretty convincing in being very unpredictable making it more suspenseful than it always was. All three brought the pain and delivered great performances since not much was going on as far as where they were filming, they had to rely on the chemistry and delivery of dialogue to keep the movie going.

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Now onto our protagonist, Not only did they look like they were related, they played a great team. They played off each other really well with each other. Foster’s character Meg just finishing up a divorce needed a fresh start but is still dealing with the fallout of her failed marriage since her ex husband has already moved on with someone else. Stewart’s character Sarah is also dealing with the backlash of her parents divorce as well as dealing with having diabetes. There is a scene where she goes into shock and she was very believable given the circumstances it raised the stakes for them to come out okay in this and make it through the night locked up in a room for more than half of the film.

Let me go on record and say that despite what you think of Kristen Stewart right now, Stewart’s performance in this film is bad ass. She held her own in this film and in more than a few moments wore the pants in the relationship with her mother. The scene where she is trying to coach her mother on how to address the intruders over PA system is just laugh out loud funny. She was tough, rolled with the punches, and very entertaining to watch. If you need an example of how Kristen Stewart can be other than an emo girl, check this film out.

There wasn’t many dull moments in this film and even though I know what was going to happen I was still hooked to the screen watching these great long one takes and angles capturing the architecture of the home really making the home a character of the film in itself. You felt for these characters and wanted them to survive this ordeal. There were times where you get a sense of how its going to end but what you never know is how they get there. That is what makes this movie good. For instance, there is this scene where the shit really could have hit the fan and that is when two cops came to the house to investigate. The interaction between Meg and the cops was so well done. The back and forth between them was epic in the sense that the cops knew something was going on and they tried everything they could to be as subtle but obvious that they know something is up and they want to help her. Meg keeps her cool and is so quick with her answers to make sure it doesn’t escalate but you can see that she wants to tell the truth so bad and knows that if she doesn’t get them to go away her daughter could die. She had a big choice to make and it was epic to watch. Like I said, such smart characters in this film. With smart characters usually means you give a crap what happens to them which makes for a good watch. I believe this movie can still be watched with today’s audience because there isn’t much out there like it. I also believe that the players are still relevant enough to watch it for today’s audience.

5 out of 5

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