Hey, everyone. "Moriarty" here with some Rumblings From The Lab.
I like Muad Dib. He's a good egg. And he's also one of the first people I know to see the finished print of David Fincher's PANIC ROOM. I know the trailers for this one look great, but boy, howdy, I hated that script. I'd love to hear something good about this, so let's see what Muad has to say...
MuadDib here again.
This time I've just taken in PANIC ROOM, and I've got some words on it.
If you've seen the trailer to the film, you know the skeleton of the story. A woman and her daughter lock themselves in a safe room, and three uglies try their nastiest to break into it to claim a bunch of money for themselves.
David Fincher directed this bitch, and he doesn't cover much new ground here. In fact, he covers the same stretch of road he took in FIGHT CLUB with the CGI drop-zoom cam... about twelvety billion times. Now, let me just say that I understand the allure of zooming in and along pipes... air vents... coffee cups... key holes... it's fun. But for the love of Jebus Christ, it grows TIRESOME, David, tiresome. Don't get me wrong, if CGI zooming is your thing, then this is your huckleberry... but the guy is taking it to a sick level.
David Koepp is the writer here, and he takes the basic element of LADY IN A CAGE, DESPERATE HOURS and WAIT UNTIL DARK and smooshes them together. And all in all, he doesn't come up with a bad fondue.
The movie is acted by an able troupe... Jodie Foster, Forest Whitaker, Jared Leto, and Dwight Yoakam. Foster's claustrophobic mom is just that... a claustrophobic mom. Her character really isn't given much of an arc here... she just shows up, works really hard to keep her and her kid alive, then goes away. Whitaker continues to perfect the big bear likable-villain guy, and I don't really mind watching him do it. Leto plays a useless crack addict, and he scores some nice comedic moments. Probably the most successful performance is Yoakam, who gets to work out his menace more freely than he did in SWING BLADE.
The similarities with WAIT UNTIL DARK here are quite direct. Foster is your Hepburn, Whitaker is your Crenna, and Yoakam is your Arkin.
Now, I will say that this movie is worthwhile. It's keenly shot, nicely acted, and it delivers all your thrills and chills and whatnot. But there is something here that is sorely missing from Fincher's other work. There isn't any real adventure in Fincher's direction... no real invention. Fincher has made a name for himself by playing risky and choosing tough, inventive material and translating it beautifully into vision and sound. Here Fincher seems to be playing it safe... nothing gained, nothing lost. If I were to liken this to another Fincher project, it would have to be THE GAME, but not even with the sadistic glee and somewhat nifty ending.
So, in summation: Good acting, good writing, LOTS of CGI zooming, and no progress for Fincher.
That's all I've got, for now.
I'm going to be paying close attention to reactions I hear from people in the next week or so on this one, and I'm going to poke about to see if there's a screening I can squeeze into. I'm curious as hell to see how it plays, especially after such a mixed review. Thanks again, Muad, for taking the time.