Jamie Kennedy's favorite movie review site
Home Reviews  Articles  Release Dates Coming Soon  DVD  Top 20s Criticwatch  Search
Public Forums  Festival Coverage  Contests About 
Advertisement

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



Panic Room
[AllPosters.com] Buy posters from this movie
by EricDSnider

"Heart-stopping brilliance."
5 stars

David Fincher is four for four. His three previous films, “Seven,” “The Game” and “Fight Club,” were brilliantly plotted, ingeniously realized suspense-thrillers; his new “Panic Room” is right up there with them. It’s possible that as a director, Fincher is only getting better.

(We are overlooking, by the way, the fact that he also directed “Alien3.” It’s unfair to count a franchise sequel as Fincher’s own work.)

“Panic Room” has the simplest of plots. Newly divorced Meg Altman (Jodie Foster) and her androgynous young daughter Sarah (Kristen Stewart), whom I honestly thought was a boy for half the movie, move into a gorgeous old house in Manhattan. It’s a brownstone/townhouse combination -- a “townstone,” the realtor calls it -- with three stories, an elevator, and a “panic room.”

The panic room is a private bunker accessible from the master bedroom, to be used in the event of intruders or other threats. Once closed, its thick steel walls prevent anyone from getting in. It has its own private phone line to call the police, and surveillance monitors that show “nearly every corner of the house.” (Note the word “nearly.”)

Naturally, immediately upon moving in, Meg and Sarah are beset by a trio of burglars (Forest Whitaker, Jared Leto, Dwight Yoakam), who mistakenly believed the house was still unoccupied. These three men -- who run the gamut from conflicted to psychopathic -- are after something valuable left by the previous owner -- something, as fate would have it, that is being hidden in the panic room itself.

It’s “Wait Until Dark,” but thematically darker, scarier and more intense. The sound mix is crisp and vivid. The camerawork is exquisite, taking us through every nook and cranny of the house -- through bannisters, keyholes, walls and floors. All the elements of filmmaking combine to put us in that house, and in that panic room, with the heroines. When everything is eventually resolved, we are as relieved to have survived as anyone. (And since Fincher is the man who gave us the relentlessly bleak “Seven,” there’s no guarantee all the people we like are necessarily going to make it.)

It is not deep beyond the level of being thrilling, but the screenplay by Dave Koepp (“Jurassic Park,” “Stir of Echoes”) does have a few deft touches of character. They are small details, but at least they are details. How many thrillers try to get away with presenting a tense scenario and no characterization whatsoever? The more we know these people -- even the villains -- the more we can be scared for them.

“Panic Room” is a top-notch piece of filmmaking, and will be far more palatable to mainstream audiences than “Seven” and “Fight Club” were. It’s unlikely we’ll see a better thriller this year. I sort of hope we don’t. I’m not sure my heart could take it.

link directly to this review at http://www.hollywoodbitchslap.com/review.php?movie=4733&reviewer=247
originally posted: 03/28/02 18:29:26
[printer] printer-friendly format  

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!
Note: Duplicate, 'planted,' or other obviously improper comments
will be deleted at our discretion. So don't bother posting 'em. Thanks!
Your Name:
Your Comments:
Your Location: (state/province/country)
Your Rating:


Discuss this movie in our forum

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



Home Reviews  Articles  Release Dates Coming Soon  DVD  Top 20s Criticwatch  Search
Public Forums  Festival Coverage  Contests About 
Privacy Policy | | HBS Inc. |   
All data and site design copyright 1997-2017, HBS Entertainment, Inc.
Search for
reviews features movie title writer/director/cast