Panic Room (2002)

Wow.  What an intense movie.  Jodie Foster, so intelligent, shines in her role as a woman who is burglarized — an inside job by the character Forest Whittaker plays (Wow.  Another great actor!  I love him.) — on her first night in her new brownstone mansion in Manhattan with her prepubescent diabetic daughter.

The set is bleak.  Box are lined up around the perimeter of the immense rooms of this 3 story structure.  And it feels extremely empty.  And cold.  And to be honest with you, I either haven’t seen the first few scenes of this movie (one of those problems when you’re at the mercy of cable companies programming schedules) or I did but can’t remember.  I think I missed them though.  Anyway, an intense drama unfolds as soon as the thieves — Whitaker has 2 accomplices, the one who is decent like Whitaker, and the other one who is sheer evil, played magnificently by Dwight Yoakam.  He makes you cringe.  Watching him bring such rage and anger and total social alienation to the surface.  He’s really really scary.  Moral malaise.  No, it’s a disease, I think.  It’s worst than malaise.  Ah, I know what it is!  The total absence of a conscience.

Very scary stuff.

Jodie Foster always chooses roles that depict women of intelligence.  She’s totally serious about how women are portrayed on screen and does not lower her standards to accommodate Hollywood insiders.  Indeed I think she is probably admired by Hollywood insiders for her ability to draw such sharp boundaries between her personal and professional life and have professional success and still remain private.  Could have had high visibility, right?  But she chose not to.

In this role, not surprisingly, she plays a character whose life is on the line.  And that of her daughters.’  (Also a riveting performance by Kristen Stewart.)  And what she does in order to survive.  It is only by her intelligence and rapid adaptation to the events surrounding her that she outwits the burglars, but still —  Up until the last few scenes, the movie is filled with suspense and tension.  Delicious.  This is a movie I can watch over and over.  I didn’t think so, but whenever it comes on, I tune in and look for my favorite scenes in the movie.

A real thriller.

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