superficial stuff out of the way first: famke janssen is good looking, but elisabeth shue is straight up hot. she also drives a vw (1967, i think) in the movie so i had a boner for her the entire time. onto the review…with spoilers….
like secret window, it’s not a hard film to figure out. there are a couple red herrings, but they weren’t quite believable enough to really distract my attention from what was going on. deniro hardly ever picks characters with just one layer to them, and most of the way through this film his character was pretty one-sided so it was easy to see something coming. that, and the fact that the best explanation was a duality of character in deniro led me to figure this one out even more quickly than i did with secret window. there seems to be a trend in films where the sympathetic protagonist ends up being his own worst enemy – both the hero and the villain in one.
deniro’s acting was good, but not amazing. dakota fanning did a good job of selling both sides of her character – happy, precocious kid and dark, disturbed potential psychopath. elisabeth shue also did a very good job. all her acting is derived from her eyes and mouth, it’s quite a wonder to watch. i think she should get more roles.
the direction was pretty balanced – some artful shots in between the ‘scary moments’ and a good balance of scares – some derived from the music/sound, others from a sudden jump, others from a more cerebral place, but all of them were effective. it’s a pretty creepy movie to watch once, and it’s got some good acting, but the ending dragged a bit and was too predictable for my tastes. C+.
p.s. even the credit sequence at the beginning hints towards the ending by copying the names in a scrawled, childish font. sorta like this:
DeNiroWatched in theater