Panic Room

01 h 51 m
David Fincher
Jodie Foster, Kristen Stewart, Forest Whitaker
"A Claustrophobic Masterclass in Tension – `Panic Room`"

Posted Sunday, Nov 26, 2023 168

David Fincher`s `Panic Room` is the tale of a recently divorced woman, Meg Altman, and her diabetic daughter, Sarah, who find themselves in grave danger. They are forced to retreat to a secure panic room in their new home when intruders break in. The stakes are raised when it`s revealed the intruders are after something hidden inside that very room, leading to a nail-biting game of cat and mouse.

The film investigates themes of intrusion, survival and the maternal instinct to protect at all costs. The tone is relentlessly suspenseful, maintaining a claustrophobic pressure-cooker situation from start to finish.

Jodie Foster delivers a captivating performance as Meg, balancing vulnerability with fierce determination, while a young Kristen Stewart portrays her asthmatic daughter, Sarah, with commendable authenticity. The trio of intruders, played by Forest Whitaker, Jared Leto, and Dwight Yoakam, add a layered dynamic of conflict and unpredictability to the film.

David Fincher`s direction is meticulous and precise. His commitment to detail and his ability to amplify tension through tight close-ups and confined spaces is nothing short of brilliant.

Panic Room movie review

Howard Shore`s score underpins the suspenseful atmosphere without overwhelming the on-screen action, striking an ideal balance that adds to the film`s intense mood.

The cinematography by Conrad W. Hall and Darius Khondji plays a crucial part in constructing an environment of tight corners and limited maneuverability, where the camera movements are almost as fluid and calculated as the characters` need to survive.

The production design of the titular panic room is a standout, manifesting not just as a setting but as a character in itself. The imposing yet claustrophobic space sets the stage for the unfolding drama effectively.

The use of CGI to create the seamless camera movements inside the house created a sensation upon release, adding to the film`s innovative visual storytelling.

Panic Room movie review

James Haygood`s editing is precise, ensuring the film`s pace remains taut, punctuating the suspense with just the right rhythm.

The pace is relentless, with Fincher`s control of the narrative ensuring viewers are on the edge of their seats throughout.

The screenplay, by David Koepp, delivers dialog that drives the plot forward and reveals character depths without needless exposition.

Despite some narrative conveniences that serve to move the plot along, the performances and technical prowess largely overshadow any leaps in logic. `Panic Room` stands firm as a thriller, although its focus on style over character development may not resonate with all viewers.

The movie left an impact with its claustrophobic feel and the pervasive dread of entrapment. `Panic Room` is a testament to Fincher`s ability to manipulate space and tension to create a thriller that not only entertains but also clings to your psyche long after the credits roll. The palpable fear and the intellectual duel for survival resonated deeply, etching the movie as a memorable example of early 2000s suspense cinema.