Panic Room

Panic room is a thriller. Its set in one house. At any given time, about half the characters are in one room. There are about 6 important characters. You might feel sympathy for one of them, if you're lucky. Here lies the problem. The film is done competently - the acting is good, the direction is good, there are a few visually clever and stunning scenes. But the story is missing. Empathy is missing. Yes, all this stuff is going on and some of it creates tension or involves violence, but I really didn't care

The early scenes set the story, and tell us why we shouldn't like the two main characters. All well and good - depressed self-absorbed mother and irritating self-absorbed child. Then they go to bed and the house gets broken into by 3 people who don't realise when they look through the window that there are already people living there. Now the criminals have some character, there is self-absorbed but sarcastic. Heart of gold who is only doing it because he needs the money. Silent and evil. Some of their conversations are entertaining. We find out that the sarcastic one is sarcastic, while the one with the heart of gold doesn't want to hurt people.

And thats pretty much the film. At the midpoint the threat of death is introduced (as we learn the violent one doesn't mind murdering) There is backstabbing amongst the theives (the self-absorbed one was conning the others). And the daughter is diabetic (which seems to be an attempt to gain sympathy). Its what you expect. It works. At the end of the day the good guys win and heart of gold repents. Its what you would expect. The quality is high, but its nothing special.

Being nothing special is the problem. It had potential to be good. Everything shows competence form people involved. I didn't ever feel bored, but I never felt attached. Everything was predictable. No characters surprised us - they hardly developed. Some of the camera effects, while pretty distracted from the film - there is rarely a good plot reason for a continuous shot through the handle of a teapot - all it says is "Hey look at me, I can do a continuous shot through the handle of a teapot".

So it isn't that I wouldn't recommend the film, but I don't really want to see it again. I didn't gain anythign from it other than a way of spending a few reasonably enjoyable hours. I have to compare it to attack of the clones really - attack of the clones was far less professional in terms of acting and dialogue and had the same sort of plot holes, but the characters had charisma, the film lifted you and carried you with it. Panic Room didn't manage to do that. It never lived up to its promises. Three and a half million dollar bonds out of a possible five, and a comment of "feh" which sums up my response to it, as a whole.