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Overall Rating
3.47

Awesome: 18.78%
Worth A Look37.02%
Just Average: 23.2%
Pretty Crappy: 14.36%
Sucks: 6.63%

14 reviews, 97 user ratings


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Panic Room
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by MuseMaker

"Don't piss off Jodie Foster."
2 stars

Possibly the least believable Jodie Foster movie, Panic Room is also the most pedestrian. Few surprises await you, but seeing Foster swing a sledgehammer may just be worth sitting through the first hour.

Possibly the least believable Jodie Foster movie, Panic Room is also the most pedestrian. It's a straightforward thriller, take it or leave it.

There are two ways to make scary movies. 1-Quick cuts to an unexpected frame, with ominous music, such as when the killer jumps out of the shadows at the camera; 2-Establish characters, introduce them into an environment that slowly builds tension and dread. I think method one is lazy. It's a shock tactic of the lowest order designed to scare an unthinking, desensitized audience that has ceased to pay attention to films because, except for these jump shots, they have become dreadfully boring.

Panic Room doesn't have a lot of jump shots. In fact, with a handy bank of surveillance monitors, we get to see everything coming from any direction, so there are none of those cheap shots. It is visually an honest film.

Unfortunately, the characters are introduced in generic terms, in a five minute sequence at the beginning of the movie. Jodie Foster is an overprotective single mom with a thick skinned teenage daughter. Seen it before? Luckily, Jodie Foster is the mom, and she's not about to portray a character so flat. So what we have is a thriller whose characters unfold in the midst of all that tension (which, by the way, is the best way to reveal character in the first place). She's still driven by her overprotective momness, but Foster's portrayal is nuanced enough to lend credibility to the character. Kristen Stewart, playing the daughter, is strong enough not to drown in Foster's wake.

Alas, this film is not a character study. It is ultimately driven by plot, and this is where it falls short. The panic room is an impregnable bunker in which mother and daughter take refuge when intruders break into their new home. The thieves are led by Jared Leto, who believes himself due an inheritance that is, coincidentally, locked in a vault built into the panic room's floor. Forest Whitaker designed the panic room's systems, and has been enlisted to break in. And finally, Dwight Yoakam, acting from behind a black facemask, is the experienced thug.

The expert Whitaker knows the panic room cannot be taken from without, and has ostensibly shared this information with Leto, his partner. This is a movie in which a major plot hole must be plowed through to start the wheels rolling, and I despise all such movies. Put simply, nobody guards the panic room. This allows mother and daughter to dash inside, just in the nick of time, and basically wait for the thieves to either kill each other or go insane.

Once you swallow this oversight, Panic Room becomes a decent thriller. It's fun to watch Jodie Foster get angry.
"Excuse me," she politely interrupts the thieves over the intercom. "Get out of my house!"
"Say fuck," encourages her daughter.
"You fuck!" screams Jodie.
Daughter rolls her eyes and says, "Mom! Say 'Get the fuck out of my house."

She may not be used to this hostility but she certainly warms up to it. Who knew? Jodie Foster is especially handy with a sledgehammer, taking out surveillance cameras right and left.

This is Hollywood, so the ending is preordained. It isn't as bad as it could be, though. Jodie doesn't get back with her ex-husband, though he does attempt to come to the rescue.

I still don't know what Jodie Foster is doing in this movie. Maybe she needed the money? Whatever her motivation, as always, she makes whatever she's in watchable.

link directly to this review at http://www.hollywoodbitchslap.com/review.php?movie=4733&reviewer=314
originally posted: 07/12/02 11:48:34
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User Comments

3/12/17 morris campbell tense well directed 4 stars
8/01/10 PAUL SHORTT SOLID AND ENGROSSING 3 stars
1/04/09 Samantha Pruitt interesting idea, acting is good, they seem to have though of everything! 4 stars
8/12/08 Shaun Wallner The storyline is well made! 5 stars
3/01/08 Ivana Mann Okay,we get it.Jodie Foster is one bad mutha...shut your mouth.Hollywood,please...new idea! 1 stars
2/11/08 Mike Hunt 110 minute gimmick movie. Time will not be kind to this fincher wreck. 1 stars
1/22/08 Double M A typical Hollywood thriller + Fincher's style. OK, but for Fincher, it's too disappointing 3 stars
1/14/07 Gloria Dornin I loved it, made me want to get a Panic room!! 4 stars
12/02/06 David Pollastrini not great, not terrible 4 stars
10/09/06 MP Bartley Jodie Foster, Woman of Steel! 4 stars
4/04/06 Dk Tense taught thriller that may be one of this centuries finest 5 stars
8/11/05 ES Dwight steals the show here, he's a really good actor= superb movie experience 5 stars
6/18/05 Nicole A disappoint after Se7en & Fight Club - I expected better 3 stars
4/03/05 indrid cold An odd idea for a movie. Not great but definitely "worth a look." 4 stars
2/26/05 Alice Colwell boring 3 stars
11/17/04 John Bale Smartly directed thriller with plenty of shock moments. 4 stars
9/19/04 R.W. Welch Neatly plotted cat & mouse game has some weak spots but entertains. 4 stars
8/16/04 Ana Marie It was kinda creepy... And Kristen acted well at that age. 5 stars
7/08/04 JME Not much to work with, but everyone involved pulls through - minus Koepp 4 stars
6/13/04 MyGreenBed Fincher has that great glossy-yet-arty look to his films, however this one has nothing but. 2 stars
2/03/04 Charles Tatum Unbelievable premise, arrogant direction, but great acting and pacing 4 stars
1/29/04 LIAM JACKSON i like the way raoul changes from a silent background observer to a truly menacing psycho. 5 stars
12/08/03 Samuel A very realistic film, strong performances!! 3 stars
10/18/03 Psiseeker let's keep this simple "110% TERRIBLE" If u like it, u r retarded 1 stars
8/17/03 Lorraine I love Jodie Foster but she chose the wrong movie here - rubbish 2 stars
8/12/03 It's just me I love this movie. It's really entertaining. Jodie Foster is an amazing actress. 5 stars
5/14/03 joshx42 Bad ending, good film. 4 stars
4/16/03 Nicole I expected much better 3 stars
4/14/03 reptilesni I was actually on the very edge of my seat. Some plot holes but who cares? 5 stars
3/02/03 Jack Sommersby Creatively bankrupt and lethargically rendered. Foster, though, is terrific. 1 stars
2/13/03 Andrew Carden Horrifying Film With Twisted Screenplay and Eerie Direction. 5 stars
2/01/03 paul Great suspense, disappointing ending. RUN FOREST RUN!! 4 stars
1/29/03 Ken Very tense, well-directed thriller. Best opening credits ever. 4 stars
1/13/03 Mitsaso If it wasn't for the stupid ending... 4 stars
11/28/02 Monster W. Kung STEVE, Fight Club is Fincher's best easily. Whoever thinks different is a retard, like you. 2 stars
11/16/02 PsiSeeker My ending. Forest gets $, millionairess, brat, 2 tards get offed! :-) 2 stars
11/08/02 Phil M. Aficionado Awesone, until the cliche ending. Imagination please. Great camera work. 4 stars
10/22/02 palaboy101 A fairly big part of the story centered on a product placement for NOKIA 3 stars
10/19/02 STEVE RANKS WITH THE GAME ALIEN 3 SEVEN AS HIS BEST.FORGET FIGHT CLUB! 5 stars
10/01/02 John McNew A terrific, tense and fun, edge-of-your-seat thriller! Kudos to Foster and Kristen Stewart! 4 stars
9/22/02 .Choadushouse. Beautiful direction. And great performances. Definatly worth seeing. Fincher is the man. 4 stars
7/14/02 Roy Smith Blah - made by the guy that did Fight Club? Really? You sure? 3 stars
6/22/02 David A. Not as bad as Ocean's 11, but still a boring "science of being a crook" thing. Yawn. 3 stars
6/06/02 crush I loved it 5 stars
5/26/02 Nicole Big let down if you have seen other Fincher flicks 3 stars
5/23/02 Kristen very disappointing 3 stars
5/18/02 Chowie very good, but i felt as if they just eneded the movie coz they didnt know what to put next 4 stars
5/17/02 viking well made, but not Fincher's best 4 stars
5/14/02 Stud This movie was non-stop suspenseful!! 5 stars
5/12/02 Amy I expected more from a Jodie Foster movie. 3 stars
4/28/02 dave macdougall compared to every other Fincher movie.... this one sucks 2 stars
4/25/02 Nick2k hmm...don't expect a 'surprise ending'. we need more good movies with whitaker. 4 stars
4/21/02 Monster W. Kung Very disappointing, considering this guy directed Fight Club. 3 stars
4/15/02 Lauren anyone who rates this above "average" has to get out more! 3 stars
4/14/02 Lachlan bland and shallow- the best part is the titles at the satrt of the film. the script is diab 2 stars
4/12/02 Thor-Leo A fairly satisfying ride 4 stars
4/12/02 oldgoatmon not a jodie foster movie, why did she do it? Predictible and in retrospect little movement 2 stars
4/12/02 Punky Brewster If youve never seen a thriller before in your life, you might consider this to be "Awesome" 3 stars
4/12/02 CJ one of the few movies I'd like to see again 5 stars
4/11/02 Matthew Smith one of the year's best thrillers that will have you jumping out of your seat . 5 stars
4/11/02 margie yntema awesome 5 stars
4/09/02 Janine Lay not great, too hokey, diabetic daughter pushed the limits being stuck in the room like that 3 stars
4/09/02 spikeme502 Jodie Foster has more balls than most working actors 5 stars
4/08/02 bullit17 Fincher does it again. Hand-wringing, nailbting suspense and intensity 5 stars
4/07/02 Nicole Not a typical Fincher film and not really suspenseful if you have seen any of the previews. 3 stars
4/07/02 stoolie-bird generic fast food for the brain...not worth your time or money 3 stars
4/07/02 Koitus Compared to the rest of the CRAP that the industry is putting out these days -- 4-stars! 4 stars
4/06/02 FrayLo Sure, may be corny at times, but still a good suspenseful movie. 4 stars
4/06/02 Jessi Lacking in Plot 3 stars
4/05/02 Rapper S. Delight This one's for Forest Whitaker & Jodie Foster, while Leto & Yoakam are over-the-top fun 5 stars
4/05/02 Nicholas Schoonover Most worthless movie EVER! Bought the script from a 6th grader who wrote it in 20 mins. 1 stars
4/04/02 Obi Wan Hello Claris . . .I loved your new movie that Kidman turned down! Good 4 you!!! 5 stars
4/03/02 Dave MacDougall cookie cutter bad guys..... 2 stars
4/03/02 Spanky Typical non-human-acting characters. Why such a big gap between reality tv & fictional? 3 stars
4/03/02 dannyevans good movie, but the propane would have settled on the floor thus killing them in the fire 4 stars
4/03/02 orpy entertaining to a point, stupid ending 3 stars
4/02/02 Butterbean I saw plots like this on Lifetime TV. Have your date pay for you to see this one. 3 stars
4/01/02 lauren mccreight nothing you haven't seen before.... 3 stars
4/01/02 Dr Laura Is A Bitch (Doo dah, doo dah...) Engaging, gripping, slightly disturbing. Slight constant-crisis syndrome. Get the video. 4 stars
4/01/02 spaceworm Way better than the other stuff that opened today - a classic for its weekend. 4 stars
3/31/02 KMG This movie was outstanding...but where was Lecter? 5 stars
3/31/02 CoffeeVixen jesus christ, i came close to shitting my pants over the suspense! this movie rocks! 5 stars
3/31/02 Todd Beamer Best thriller in quite some times...and it actually delivers!! Bravo!! 5 stars
3/31/02 Ziggy Stardust Stylistically perfect. Just a fun flick to see. Not as scary as one would hope. 5 stars
3/31/02 skafunkrastapunk Amazing film making. Every shot was there for a reason. Be sure to watch the titles. cool 5 stars
3/31/02 Superdave Grandtastic 5 stars
3/30/02 Olivia Sands Whatever happened to Jodie Foster? 1 stars
3/30/02 malcolm great camera work, but there's never any doubt that Foster and the kid will be OK 3 stars
3/30/02 Chuck and Fran Great movie! Would have been better with more exposition and character development. 4 stars
3/30/02 Film Dude The best movie of the year so far - but it isn't hard to beat what else I saw this year. 5 stars
3/30/02 Film Guy Finally a GOOD movie. Panic Room Delivers 4 stars
3/30/02 ajayrockrock when people "count to 3" why don't they ever kill anyone? Great Movie!!! 5 stars
3/30/02 Gary I saw this with the movieman, and I find it just as good as he did, an exciting movie 4 stars
3/30/02 Michael ***** Tihs movie was the best movie of 2002 so far(Jodie Foster kicked ass) 5 stars
3/30/02 Zero182 Top-notch thriller. The screenplay/script is superb and the tension is gripping. 5 stars
3/30/02 frank a technical masterpiece. 4 stars
3/29/02 BO Despite all the femminazi psychobabble about 'dominant sex', this was a good movie. 4 stars
IF YOU'VE SEEN THIS FILM, RATE IT!
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USA
  29-Mar-2002 (R)
  DVD: 30-Mar-2004

UK
  N/A

Australia
  11-Apr-2002


Directed by
  David Fincher

Written by
  David Koepp

Cast
  Jodie Foster
  Kristen Stewart
  Forest Whitaker
  Jared Leto
  Dwight Yoakum
  Ann Magnuson



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