Panic Room movie poster
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Panic Room movie poster

Panic Room Movie Review

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It might not be Fight Club, and it's definitely not The Game, but when it comes to David Fincher, Panic Room will never be considered a failure. Starring Jodie Foster and Forest Whitaker, Panic Room unleashes a suspenseful thriller from beginning to end.

Everyone has fears of intruders in their homes, and probably more so for people living in the city. Director David Fincher takes a look at one such incident, where a divorced mother and her daughter become trapped in a so-called panic room, a steel chamber with a security system, when burglars invade their house. Unfortunately for them, the burglars want something that is inside the panic room.

Panic Room tells two different stories, that of the women trying to survive, and that of the burglars attempting to get a lot of money, and dealing with conflicts within their group. Unfortunately, the conflict between the robbers seems to take up an overabundant amount of time, and at the same time is the most clich├ęd and uninteresting aspect of the film. It isn't necessarily poorly done, but obviously, if more of the movie focused around the survival and escape attempts of the women, things would have been a lot more exciting.

What drove my disappointments in the movie was more high expectations than anything specifically wrong with the movie itself. I was expecting a suspense thriller almost solely from Foster's point-of-view, where she has to fight to survive. I was not expecting a movie divided between Foster stuck in the panic room, which admittedly was pretty well done, and the robbers bickering among themselves, almost always for comic amusement. I enjoyed some of the jokes that took place at expense of the robbers, but I would have preferred to see a better storyline in their place. I would have liked to see a group of robbers who knew what they were doing (instead of completely not knowing what they were doing), and who used some intelligence to break into the panic room, forcing Foster out into the open, instead of "forcing" her out by other means, which I will not reveal here.

I really didn't feel as involved in the movie as I did; while there are not that many really good movies out there like Panic Room, I don't feel it is that hard to make a truly suspenseful claustrophobic thriller. Fincher should have done more with the claustrophobic aspect of the film; he could have made something great.

I have complained a lot in this review, but really, Panic Room kept my attention. Jodie Foster is excellent, as is Forest Whitaker. Both create vivid and likeable characters, though completely and drastically different from each other. The movie is entertaining and pretty exciting, and has some good, memorable moments. The ending is pretty good.

Panic Room is a well done thriller with a non-stop suspenseful feel, although done differently, it would have been better. Nonetheless, the acting is top notch, and there aren't many directors better than David Fincher out there.

Review by Erik Samdahl unless otherwise indicated.

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