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Review: Panic Room 328

Posted by JonKatz
from the can-technology-make-you-safe dept.
Hey, guess what? Technology can't keep us safe from the bad guys. They always find a way to get in, especially when the people responsible for security are as incompetent as the people who built the panic room in Panic Room. Technological hubris is the timely and all too accurate message of Panic Room, the mega-hit thriller starring Jodie Foster as a yuppie Mom trapped in a hi-tech hideaway in her New York City townhouse. The room is designed to shield her from bad guys. Lo and behold, on her first night living there, three evildoers bust into her home and come after her and her precocious kid. The technology unravels almost as quickly as the plot. There are some good things about this movie, but the plot will drive nitpicking techheads and nerds nuts with its implausibility.

To be fair, this is a smart, high-end movie in some ways. The camera shots are especially skillful, the film moves like a rocket, Jodie Foster is her intense, tough and vulnerable self. Foster plays a newly-divorced (her husband was loaded) mom with an angst-ridden teen-aged daughter Sarah (Kristin Stewart). She's still in shock at his sudden affair. The kid is appropriately sullen and adorable. The townhouse they have just purchased has a secret "panic room" shrouded in steel with its own vault-like door, life support systems specifically built by the rich and paranoid previous owner to give him shelter against thieves and home invaders. The room has three-inch steel all around it, and supplies of food and drink. It also has its own tele-communications system and a video monitors to scan the house. Unbeknownst to the new occupants, it also has millions of dollars hidden away in the floor, something known to three thieves -- Forest Whitaker (the bad guy with a big heart); Jared Leto (the hyper and incompetent jerk); and Dwight Yoakum (the vicious psycopath who kills and tortures for the hell of it.

The thieves know there's money hidden away. They enter the house thinking it's still vacant. But the movie never explains why they don't just leave and come back another time once they found out there are people inside.

In the movie's best and early creepy moments, Foster puts her kid to bed, then gets up in the middle of the night to go to the bathroom. Glancing at her video monitors she becomes aware that people are in her house. She grabs her daughter and hauls her into their retreat just a step ahead of the onrushing bad guys. But once inside, nothing seems to go right. It seems that the room is highly vulnerable to being disabled (Whitaker is a "panic room" designer); the super-secret phone doesn't work, the ventilation system is hardly self-contained, and -- here is where Hollywood movies just can't contain themselves -- Foster's daughter starts slipping into a diabetic seizure almost instantly. They gotta get out or the kid will die. This is the best plotting in the film, the growing tension and confusion over who really is trapped and who isn't.

Techies will be instantly frustrated at the pretzel-like turns the movie has to take to make its premise fly. In technological terms, there is no question the world can design a steel reinforced room that will hold off three men armed with nothing more than a pistol and some drills for one night. And no safe room would fail to have a Net connection (this one doesn't); a working cell phone or some secure means of communicating with the outside world. Like, say a silent alarm? (Duh). This "panic room" seems to have been conceived for the 50's, not the 21st century. Barring any of those things, how about an old-fashioned weapon. Sure, it gets tense in there, but mostly you think about the swell lawsuit Foster will have against the dummies who built the room once she gets out.

Panic Room is a nice idea, and it has some genuinely creepy moments. The premise (especially these days) of an absolutely safe retreat within a home is interesting. Director David Fincher does some remarkable camerawork. Near the beginning of the movie, there's an astonishing camera shot that goes down through the house, through the kitchen and out into the front door keyhole.

But the plot isn't plausible or disciplined. There are way too many improbable twists and turns. The bad guys are all stereotypes. Whitaker's thief is heroic. It doesn't make sense to like the villain more than the edgy heroine. Yoakum's psycho sparks all sorts of gore and mayhem that makes no sense, distracts from the movie's taut opening and style, and leads to a loopy and irritating ending.

Yes, technology is never fail-safe and those of us who are Americans tend to believe too often that it is, but this isn't a social science lecture, it's a thriller. It ought to make some sense, and this movie doesn't and that gets in the way. The best thing about Panic Room are a handful of creepy moments and Fincher's directing skills, which are richly showcased. If only the writers had kept up.

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Review: Panic Room

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  • A week late btw (Score:1, Insightful)

    by RN (21554)
    I know slashdot and jon katz aren't professional reviewers, but this is really old news.

    The movie came out last weekend, if you guys wanted to do a review of it, shouldn't it have come out a little earlier than on the next sunday morning?

    • I was under the impression that the slashdot staff is paid. If they are paid and they do this for a living they are professional reviewers. They may be in the shallow end of the professional pool but don't go thinking that this is a site run by a couple guys in their basements.

      As a professional site now we should expect some form of grammer, spelling and accuracy in the reporting.

      As for Jon Katz, wow, it's been a long time since I've read one of his reviews. I usually have my slashdot set up to ignore his postings....
      • yea, i knew slashdot staff are paid, i meant they were not professional in the quality aspect.

        i glazed this review as soon as i read the "technology won't save us from everything" spiel.

        • Hey, I've seen alot of people get paid alot of money to do some very bad work. Quality isn't something you can equate with Professional anymore. Quality is now considered to be the mark of Mastery.

          There was a time when people were apprenticed, and they learned and were paid, but they were not professionals. When they attained a level of quality, they became professionals. When they obtained superior quality, they became Masters.

          You can still find this in a few places, but there are some things we have lost.

          Not that I think the review was bad; I just had a point to make about quality. : )

      • don't go thinking that this is a site run by a couple guys in their basements

        Maybe not now...





        but it used to be ;-}
    • Maybe it took him a week to write it.
  • Post-9/11... Post-Colombine... Post-Tech Boom... Nope. Looks like we're safe in this one.
  • another review (Score:5, Informative)

    by sebi (152185) on Sunday April 07, 2002 @11:40AM (#3299079)
    As allways - check the filthy critic [bigempire.com] for a second opinion.
  • Finally (Score:3, Insightful)

    by C0vardeAn0nim0 (232451) on Sunday April 07, 2002 @11:42AM (#3299083) Journal
    a john katz arcticle I agree with.

    basicly what katz says is:

    Hollywood plots are full of cliches;
    Hollywood has absolutely no clue about technology.

    Well done katz.
  • by GigsVT (208848) on Sunday April 07, 2002 @11:42AM (#3299084) Journal
    These are the people that bring you the unlimited submachinegun clips, bullets that must not hurt *too* much, and bad guys who never seem to practice at the target range.

    It's an action movie, they are all like that.

    Oh, ObSlashdotBash: I guess the MPAA is worth supporting today?
    • These are the people that bring you the unlimited submachinegun clips, bullets that must not hurt *too* much, and bad guys who never seem to practice at the target range.

      Actually, bad guys generally DON'T practice at the target range. B-) But the rest is right on.

      These (the movie makers) are also the people with agendas to push and a message to get across:

      1) Guns are useless for defense. Nobody but a lawman or body-builder can use them successfully, except maybe for a counter-attack against a bad guy at the end of a long angst-ridden battle. Small, weak, disabled, or female people can never use them competently as an "equalizer". Or if somehow they do use them that way it leads to a fate-worse-than-rape. So don't buy one, don't take a class, don't practice, don't learn how they REALLY work. Don't bother trying.

      2) Nothing an ORDINARY person can do - no weapon, no tech, no strategy, no martial art - will protect you from the bad guys. Even a lifetime of practice for EXTRAordinary people or top-of-the-line stuff inhereted from someone very rich (i.e. that YOU can't afford and can only get hold of by accident) isn't good enough - or just barely suffices when combined with superhuman effort, jackpot-level luck, and after enough suffering that you'll be a post-traumatic basket case when it's over. So don't bother trying.

      3) Anything you do to try to prepare makes things worse. So don't bother trying.

      Pull your own teeth, claws, and horns. Depend on the authorities, like good little sheep, and die with dignity if they aren't around to protect you from the wolves.

      1) is why there's no gun handy. It was never an option, so it never enters the the plot line - or (they hope) the viewer's mind.

      2) is why everything fails. (But it DOES make for a movie-length piece of "dramatic conflict".)

      3) is the main difference between mainstream and SF/Fantasy art. The latter has the conventional messages: "You can fix or improve anything by thought and directed effort." or "Here's how it can break beyond repair if you let it slide early on." This is why SF so rarely makes it to the Silver Screen in viewable form. Hollywood really doesn't "get it" because the internal structure is different from - and opposed to - the core values of the forms of drama they understand.

      • I think it's less about agendas and more about entertainment. Let's imagine your points (and Katz's) integrated into Panic Room.

        Thieves break in.

        Jodie rushes into panic room and sets off silent alarms and calls police (BTW, the no phone line issue is explained in the plot).

        Properly trained to use a handgun, Jodie expertly blasts the perps as they come into the darkened room.

        Police arrive, credits roll.

        Wow, well that sure was worth my $6.50! Ever wonder why your life isn't as exciting as the movies? Because life does not typically have the same number of hurdles that a typical 2 hour film does. And that's why we go see them. To see a NON-REALISTIC wolrd.

        And to those that post the "oh so we like MPAA today" posts, I never aggreed to ban movies from my life - even if I did, it would have zero impact on the MPAA. Without a concerted, large-scale and PUBLICISED effort, no one would even notice. And even then, I think I love movies too much to participate.

        matt
        • Police arrive, credits roll.

          Gosh, I guess upping the intelligence of the bad guys to the level of dealing with someone competent in protecting themselves is out of the question for you then? Keeping all the characters stupid is not the only option a screen writer has!

          One reasonable example, The Matrix. Neither protagonist nor antagonist needed to be "dumbed" down to fit the plot. In fact, both sides got smarter through the movie, increasing the tension in the plot.

          Dumbing down the characters to fit a plot is one of the worst things that can happen to a story line, though it's one of the easier ways out for boiler plate script writing. This single aspect alone explains much of the total, and complete crap that has been hitting the theaters for the last couple of years.

          Having not yet seen "Panic Room", I can only fill in from the Katz review here. Taking this from where you started, what if Ms. Foster's character had a weapon and the room was put together in a competent manner? We'd need smarter bad guys! Maybe they'd go away for a while then come back. There's a dozen ways I could think of at the moment that these antagonists could have been portrayed to deal with those defenses to equal things out.

          You really don't need idiocy in order to make a film entertaining. It's only required to keep less than adequate screen writers employed.
          • And yet I would argue that both the protagonists and the antagonists in Panic Room were quite intelligent, and certainly not "dumbed down".

            Jodie Foster's character didn't bother to connect the phone line that only works in one room of her house on the very first day she moved in. In retrospect, not the best choice, but hardly dumb.

            The thieves were suprised that the Jodie and her kid moved in sooner than they thought, but they were working on a deadline and they knew that they were far better off trying to rob them while the phone line in the panic room was still not connected than they would be coming back later after Jodie had the security features 100% hooked up. And even so, the smartest of the thieves still wanted to walk out when he saw that there were people living in the house, but was talked into staying by the other thieves.

            Jodie didn't have a gun? Many Americans own guns, but most do not. So it was pretty realistic to make her character not be a gun owner.

            And both sides in this movie had to improvise quickly and intelligently. Using the panic room's ventilation system took some good thinking and jurry-rigging by the thieves. Jodie's response to this was daring and took quick thinking.

            And when characters do make "dumb" mistakes, as people in real life do, they are quick to say "Why didn't we think of that?" when they realise it.

            If you are, as you claim to be, impressed by movies where both sides have to be intelligent to out-smart each other, and have to continually change their plans as the other side adapts to them, then I highly recommend that you see "Panic Room".

        • I think it's less about agendas and more about entertainment. [Short movie scenario.]

          I can't agree.

          If it WASN'T agenda driven, they could have explained the lack of a gun as easily as the lack of a phone and a silent alarm.

          A) The previous owner took his gun with him and the newbies just moved in and hadn't replaced it. (Just show the protagonists looking for a gun and finding the empty storage slot - canned food and tools still in place, an obvious gun rack that's empty. It only takes a moment to establish. Or use it for a extra drama: She finds the gun storage, opens it, and finds it empty. Extra moment of cursing and freakout. Additional helplessness, futility, and angst.)

          B) For the opposite agenda: If this was New York City, even the rich can't get guns. (Or if it was upstate, set it in Massachusetts instead. Same story statewide.) Kid asks mommy why all this saferoom and no gun. Mommy explains that in this place they've just moved to nobody can have one.

          But the anti-gun (and anti-tech) bias of the movie-making establishment is well documented. So my bet is that's the explanation. (And the screenplay DOES match anti-gun bias better than a neutral or pro-gun stance.)
    • "It's an action movie, they are all like that."

      Wow... I love how everybody's jumped on the "Hollywood sucks" bandwagon.

      While I grant that yes, Hollywood does have a formula and on the most part it's stupid, this movie I had hopes for...

      First of all, it's David Fincher, someone who's been known to avoid Hollywood cliche's and use high-quality scripts *coughSevencoughFightClubcough*.

      Actually, well, that was the only thing this movie had going for it for me... But I guess I'll have to go see it and just try and enjoy it... After all, I haven't seen a Fincher movie I haven't liked thus far... first time for everything maybe?
  • by grokmiskatonic (212300) on Sunday April 07, 2002 @11:43AM (#3299094)
    Unless I missed it somewhere in the part of the film where the house is being shown, It's never mentioned how recently this room was built. Why couldn't in have been fairly old?

    Obviously if it were entirely modern, up to date and totally self contained, there wouldn't be much of a movie here. I think that the lack of a working phone in the room was explained quite well - It simply was never activated at the phone company by the new tenants.

    Without gettign caught up on the technology of this film, it was a pretty rare thing these days,
    a film that actually has some very suspenseful moments.

    • by Anonymous Coward
      Hrm up here in CT and I think the rest of the country they no longer dissconnect phones because they can just remove the number and only allow them to call for new service and the police. Same goes for cell phones 911 must allways go through if you own them 10k or found it on the street good battery and reception = 911 getting through.

      As for security systems closed contacts for panic buttons have been around for years (can run DSL over them in town to :) Radio backup is allways a good one it's way to easy to dissconnect the phones the external CPE is ripe for doing such things the telephone company makes it just easy.

      Secure ventilation her need to have a vent somewhere normal ventilation and a supply of gas masks would make more sence.

      Now as for meds wouldent you have a goodly supply of any medications in the safe room and something on par with a ships first aid kit except the radio phone to call a surgen to walk you through an operations (ok maybe not dependant on how much you distrust the local PD from doing there job)

      And finaly physical structure steel or for cost reinforced concreat would seem to the the wall of choice nice and thick anything over 8-12 inches and there isnt a man portable wet saw that could get through it with access to only one side. The ONLY place that this would make much sence to be would be sharing at least one wall with the foundation as it's to heavy to be remodled into a house for load (thats a lot of contreat or steel)

      Even the only bomb shelters of the 50's would have been at least brick and have a nice heavy steel door and protected ventilation enough to protect you from the house buring down around you.

      This is all with me not seeing the movie about a house with obviously outdated and origionaly inaquit security I'd love to know what the security camras were for at least some motion detection on those feeds or something being able to see people isn't very usefull while sleeping unless you want to pay a guard to watch them.
  • In the movie's best and early creepy moments, Foster puts her kid to bed, then gets up in the middle of the night to go to the bathroom. Glancing at her video monitors she becomes aware that people are in her house. She grabs her daughter and hauls her into their retreat just a step ahead of the onrushing bad guys.

    I didn't see the movie, but did she get a chance to pee before going into the panic room? If not, I sure hope there was a toilet (or at least a pickle jar) in there.

  • by AssFace (118098) <stenz77.gmail@com> on Sunday April 07, 2002 @11:46AM (#3299106) Homepage Journal
    I had seen people rip on this guy for being a moron, but never really bothered to read his stuff.
    Now I read this, having seen the movie - and wow - did he sleep through it?
    the reason the theives don't leave right away is that they need the money based on a deadline - Leto is one of the kids of the deceased rich guy and he has his reasons for needing the money, as does Forrest's character - it is explained in the movie.
    the cell phone in the movie doesn't work in the panic room, which is true to life due to the shielding. and it had a phone, she just didn't get it hooked up. a net connection is a stupid thing to rant about it lacking since it isn't clear when this is set - either way, if she didn't hook up the phone, there is no way she would know how to hook up the net.

    none of this really matters since he is ranting about a movie where the whole point is the Hitchcock like terror and suspense, not the petty details that only a geek would notice - so the ventalation is shared with the house - who cares?!

    as for the "great camerawork" that was CG. fincher started using that in Fight Club and went on to do it in here heavily (which would explain how the camera passes through the wooden bannisters and through the handle of a coffee pot).

    anyway, *note to self* ignore Jon Katz from now on - the guy is annoying and waste of time.
    • My thoughts exactly, Forrest's character thought there were security tapes with his face on them.

      As for the "great camerawork" as soon as the camera flew throught bannister I spent the rest of the movie looking for CG and all the shots around the house were CG and were not that well done, the CG edges did not look like the real edges they tried to cover that up by making all the fly around parts CG but it just pointed out to me that they all looked fake. If you are going to do this you need to hire ILM they are the only ones that I see do this stuff right.
      • actually it was almost assuredly Digital Domain which are some of the best in the industry.

        I used to hunt for CG stuff in movies all the time and then sit back and say "BAH! that is poorly done!" - then I interned at a special effects house and saw that many things that look fake are the normal things - and the CG stuff is there and you don't notice it...

        so while I appreciate what you are saying - I thought I'd add that. and ILM aren't as great as they used to be - that business involves a lot of the same people bouncing around from one company to another and back again - very incestuous (sp?).
        • >>actually it was almost assuredly Digital Domain
          >>which are some of the best in the industry.

          Actually, I'd bet you my next pay check that the flying camera stuff was done by Buf. They did the same work in Fight Club --- kitchen flythru and explosion, flying camera shots thru the parking garages, the slow mo 'sex scene'.

          Pound per pound, I'd rate Buf as probably the best effects house in the business.

          http://www.buf.fr

          (argumentative of course. Places like SPIW, DD and ILM do killer work, but they are huge companies, while Buf is usually less than a dozen people and do really innovative stuff.)
    • Someone please mod that post up.

      (I'm agreeing with you :)): Its absurd to think that the phone would work the first night, it has to be hooked up, they even say in the movie that it has to activated via the security service.

      Secondly, the movie contained none of those "Why the hell arn't you running!!" scenes that annoy the hell out of me (an I imagine a lot of people) When they needed suspense they did slow motion, the movie was timed really well.

      There were only two things that I found kinda dumb (but it was just a movie!):
      1. The fact that they had access to the houses main phone line from the P.R. If it was self contained those wires wouldn't run anywhere near that room.
      2: The fact that they "bad guys" could pump gas into the room.

      Regardless, the movie was awesome and I suggest anyone who has not seen it to see it. Its one thing to bitch about technical issues in a computer tech movie (Hackers, Swordfish) its completely another to bitch about it in a suspense film.

    • I want a "Lets Ban Katz from Writing" law to be passed, we'll call it the LBKW....SSSSCBDA.. so it'll be called the LBKWSSSSCBDA, the last could of letters is to make it look better and more confusing so senators have no choice but to pass it unanomously.

      If anyone hasn't noticed by now, it's a complete waste of time to read anything writen by him. I don't know why he writes for slashdot at all. Anyone who ever defends him haven't read a single peice he's writen. It's just a simple fact. Hell, monkeys with half a brain could understand this simple movie and yet he has no clue.

      Anyone want to start a petition to have him perminantly censored?

    • Actually, it's somewhat clear when this movie was set, because those little wristwatch-style blood sugar/heartrate/blood pressure/whatever meters have only been around for a short time, IIRC. And the cell phone Foster had looked fairly new.
    • as if I didn't have to warn anyone: even the katz review has spoilers and reading this thread will take away from your experience

      I'm glad that it took Katz a week to write this, we just saw it last night.

      Another reason they didn't leave right away was to get the security tapes (they check for them before attacking the safe).

      The mainline phone wiring isn't so unbelievable, but it being within arms reach of the room is.
    • the cell phone in the movie doesn't work in the panic room, which is true to life due to the shielding.

      I had wondered, would it have been possible to use the landline phone's wires to fashion a crude antenna extension to attach to the cell phone with its plastic case removed? Would having that antenna hang out the pipe achievbed a signal?

      a net connection is a stupid thing to rant about it lacking since it isn't clear when this is set

      In one scene the camera pans passed a 900MHz cordless phone box as Whittakker is realizing that Junior probably screwed up cutting the phone line, so that sets the movie fairly recently. Still, I agree that any net connection could've been just as easily 'not connected' as that second phone line.

      so the ventalation is shared with the house - who cares?!

      Well, I care as that is a fairly bad oversight for a panic room. However, there is nothing that states the ventilation is attached to the rest of the house -- only that its duct work was outside of the panic room's walls (which is probably still an oversight.) In fact, the duct work probably wasn't connected because the propane would've also leaked into the master bedroom.

      *note to self* ignore Jon Katz from now on - the guy is annoying and waste of time.

      Nah, he gives you a chance to gain karma!

  • Fancy Camerawork? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by CyberBry (196935)
    All the fancy camerawork you're talking about, including the shot that goes through the house at the beginning, is infact CG. Please do some research before writing a review.
    • In Katz's defense (or maybe Fincher's) The CG was very well transposed/combined with the real set. Oh sure, you knew you were watching CG, but only because you knew that there was no other way they could show you what you saw.
  • Now I can't watch commercials for any visual and/or interactive media without checking for "In a world where..."

    Panic Room Trailer Review [bbspot.com]
  • In Australia, all I have seen or heard in the last week no matter what station I have tuned into is Jodie Foster and Panic Room. Using the law that says the more hyped the movie is, the less pulling power the story actually has I would say that this one has problems.

    One strange thing I find is that they are hyping the fact they couldn't get Nicole Kidman so they got their second resort Jodie Foster. Sounds like all spin to me to help a movie they are really worried about. Maybe this is just another case of Slashdot selling out to the big movie studios, but it does seem kinda irrelevant to be talking about this movie just because it has some premise of having technically advanced themes. Did Sandra Bullock in the boxoffice blockbuster "The Net" get this much attention? Jodie may be good but come on, the fact that this review has appeared here just looks like Katz buying into the Hollywood hype. Sounds like "oooh, shiny!" syndrome again.

    • they are hyping the fact they couldn't get Nicole Kidman so they got their second resort Jodie Foster.

      Nicole Kidman? Ye Gods. If they wanted her it must be awful. Am I the only one who can now use Kidman as a movie barometer? She's a guide to bad films all by herself. I can't think of a single movie she's been in that didn't bore me to tears. Eyes Wide Shut? Truly awful. Moulin Rouge? A great soundtrack. Just turn off your TV or get the CD. Batman Forever, The Peacemaker, Practical Magic, Days of Thunder. Need I say more?
    • Actually, they had Kidman, but she was injured during the initial filming. See it for yourself:

      http://www.davidfincher.net/feature0001.html

      Sorry, I can't be bothered to link :)
  • The money is going to be divided up among the heirs of the previous owner. They need to steal it before that happens, obviously, and I don't think they know exactly when that will happen.
    • Actually... Jared Leto's character was the only one that knew about the money. (The guy selling the house at the beginning said there were rumors of money, but nobody knew where it was.) They were stealing it in the first place because Leto's a greedy bastard and wanted it all tax-free.

      And as for why they didn't just leave and come back, Forest Whitaker mentions near the beginning that their faces would be on tape, thanks to all the camers in the house. Sure they could have run, and probably would have gotten away with it, but they didn't know that.

  • Are Katz' reviews getting to look more like the Filthy Critic's [bigempire.com] every time one is posted, or is it just me that thinks so?

    From Filthy:
    "Jared Leto is a spoiled (and annoying), hotheaded rich kid trying to steal more than his share of his inheritance. Forrest Whitaker is--once again--the sensitive bad guy with a heart of gold. And hillbilly crooner Dwight Yoakam is the cold-as-ice killer who'll do anything for the money."

    Seems like Filthy and Katz said nearly the same thing, only Filthy said it about a week ago, and in a far more entertaining fashion. If you don't mind reading through a bit of a story, and many obscenities, read Filthy's reviews insted.

    Sorry for the semi-troll, but in this post-9/11-columbine-tech-bubble-collapse-armaggedo n-osama-global-warming-crappy-movie-review world, what is one to do?
  • Lo and behold, on her first night living there, three evildoers bust into her home and come after her and her precocious kid.

    Not quite. They didn't even know that people had moved into the house yet. They were after something left in the house by the previous owner.

    Any more details would spoil the film for anyone who still wants to see it.
  • Unusually lately, I agree with Roger Ebert [suntimes.com] on this one. Fincher's camera work is very impressive, and the story is engrossing. The criminals make the sort of mistakes that I would probably make given the situation (everyone always says the criminals in movies are unrealistically stupid. Yeah, just like everyone on agameshows are idiots. Consider the situation folks). They also are not complete dolts (well, Jared Leto's character is, but he's consistent). Was it a perfect movie? Absolutely not. There were a couple of times where I questioned the actions of the participants, but overall, the characters were more believable than the usual Hollywood drivel. Will there ever be a movie that is completely technologically accurate? God I hope not. I am knee deep in technology every day and most of this stuff could make a coma patient explode in boredom. Face it folks, while there are undoubtedly some very exciting things about the tech industry, a lot of what we do is mindnumbing.


    -Sam

  • The thieves know there's money hidden away. They enter the house thinking it's still vacant. But the movie never explains why they don't just leave and come back another time once they found out there are people inside.

    Actually, it does. Robber A explains to Robber B that Robber C will keep an eye on Mom and The Kid while they get the stuff out of the panic room. It was a minor plot point; maybe Katz went to the WC?

    It seems that the room is highly vulnerable to being disabled (Whitaker is a "panic room" designer);

    Um, that's "panic room installer." The difference is that the designer would probably make more money and have less incentive to steal...

    the super-secret phone doesn't work,

    That's a major plot point. Go wacth the movie again.
    And no safe room would fail to have a Net connection (this one doesn't); a working cell phone or some secure means of communicating with the outside world. Like, say a silent alarm?

    Didn't you mention this before? Did you pay the same attention to earlier parts of your review as you did the movie? Mr Katz, this is a major plot point in the movie and is well explained. Besides, if the phone did work, how long would this movie have been? 30 minutes?

    Barring any of those things, how about an old-fashioned weapon.

    Why? The phone is supposed to work. But since it doesn't we have what we call a "movie"

    but this isn't a social science lecture, it's a thriller. It ought to make some sense, and this movie doesn't and that gets in the way.

    If you wonder how they eat and breathe and other science facts, then repeat to yourself "It's just a show. I should really just relax."

  • I've read similar reviews all over for this movie. And you're right, basically... But the real problem is, whats the alternative? If she could get a cell signal in the panic room the police would have come in 10 minutes and the movie would be over. If all of the thieves were psychopaths, would the movie have been better? I don't think so.... As for them not coming back when the house was empty, they argued a lot and decided to just sneak up there. Then when they were discovered it was too late to leave really.


    My point here, is that this move I think would be considered a thriller. This is not a genre that usually has airtight stories (although there are exceptions like the sixth sense).


    So here are the good parts, since you didn't bother to mention them. First, the movie goes very quickly. It definitely keeps you on the edge of your seat. Its nearly always suspensful, but its more of a mid-level suspense that makes it exciting. All the actors were great, I think. And the ending is pretty good.


    As with most movies, if you look for every little problem you wont enjoy it. If you go to enjoy the movie and watch it instead of analyzing it, you will really like it.

    • Agreed. It wasn't the best movie I've ever seen, but it wasn't all THAT inplausable : For instance the ventilation system wasn't self contained because the room was never intended for long term living : During a home invasion you hop in and stay there until the police arrive - at most maybe 15 minutes : You don't hope that the invaders don't pump noxious fumes in over a 24 hour stay. The phone didn't work, as was explained in the movie, because as new tenants she didn't get around to hooking it up. And exactly as you explained: Would it have been a good movie if it were over in 10 minutes as the police arrive and drag the criminals away?
    • This [thrillers] is not a genre that usually has airtight stories (although there are exceptions like the sixth sense).

      [eyes rolling] Yeah, movies about ghosts are so airtight. [/eyes rolling]

    • I've read similar reviews all over for this movie. And you're right, basically... But the real problem is, whats the alternative?
      Uhm... don't make the movie because it's a stupid concept. Do something intelligent instead.
      As with most movies, if you look for every little problem you wont enjoy it. If you go to enjoy the movie and watch it instead of analyzing it, you will really like it.
      In other words, "Don't think. Thinking makes you unhappy. Not thinking is fun."

      Sorry hon, I was born with this brain built-in and it's here to stay.
  • I saw the movie recently and, although I can't remember it being mentioned explicitly, I do remember having the impression that the Panic Room was not a recent addition to the house (like, say, it was built 7-15 years ago). That would explain the lack of modern security measures such as cell phone access, network connections, etc.
  • Woooosh! (Score:3, Funny)

    by kirkjobsluder (520465) <kirk@@@jobsluder...net> on Sunday April 07, 2002 @12:09PM (#3299185) Homepage
    What never ceases to amaze me about many fellow geeks is how they obsess over trivial details in looking at TV and cinema while the rest of the film goes whooshing over their heads. To paraphrase Gene Roddenbery on techno-fanboys who demanded technical details about the Enterprise. "It's not real, it's just a plot device to get the characters into a different conflict every week. Get over it."
    • Thats perfectly acceptable behavior for a science fiction setting. You want the viewer to be coaxed into the world, to bring the shock that much closer to home. For that, realism is tantamount. Although the viewer could suspend their disbelief and get on with the movie it's not really their job. When you imply that the movie is a 'present day' setting you should do everything possible to support that appearance.

      I wonder what reason they had for not hiring a technology director or somesuch silly title to maintain realism - they have continuity editors for a similar purose. Did they consciously say "Yeah, we know its improbable, but we need it to push the plot!" ? Or did it just not occur to them?

  • If it was it failed miserably. The action wasn't intense. You could associate with the bad guys, and got to see things from their perspective, which made the movie perdictable and boring. If they had just kept the bad guys as the strong evil and mysterious type and kept the movie from jodie and the kids perspective it could have been a really scary movie. As it is the entire theater was laughing at supposed action scene and and noone was frightened at all.
  • Amusing ... (Score:2, Funny)

    by JoeGee (85189)
    The man who called Not Another Teen Movie [slashdot.org] "a delicious bit of film criticism, hilarious, outrageous and on target" criticizes a film for plot. :)
  • Three Flaws (Score:5, Informative)

    by Chris Colohan (29716) on Sunday April 07, 2002 @12:23PM (#3299237) Homepage
    1. Propane sinks. It has a vapor density of 1.50. That fire should have burned on the floor, not the ceiling.
    2. "SOS" == dot dot dot, dash dash dash, dot dot dot.
    3. Try this: hold a gun by its grip in your right hand. Place your left hand over the top of it, with your thumb behind the hammer. Pull the trigger. Scream in pain, as the motion of the slide breaks your thumb, and the ejecting shell casing burns your palm. Now do this another 8 times as the bad guy runs accross the room.
    • by nullard (541520)
      She did get the SOS right, but she didn't pause long enough betreen repititions or even between letters. Then again, the fact that she wasn't good at sending morse fits her character.

    • Try this: hold a gun by its grip in your right hand. Place your left hand over the top of it, with your thumb behind the hammer. Pull the trigger. Scream in pain, as the motion of the slide breaks your thumb, and the ejecting shell casing burns your palm

      Actually..... :-)
      I do a bit of practical pistol shooting (and no I'm not a redneck nutter)
      In practical pistol shooting the more power the ammunition has (Called making "Major"), the more marks you score when hitting the target. (This allows for the fact that more powerful recoil is harder to controal... hence deserves more points).

      The power of your ammunition is measured at the start of the contest.
      During the 'power factor measuring' at World Shoot 10 (held in the UK) members of the South African team would hold the pistol in two hands and brace both thumbs on the slide.
      They would then fire there test round (usually 10mm or .38 Super ....look up this calibre!) holding the slide closed with both thumbs.

      Because the slide dosn't open, gas/propellant isn't wasted out of the ejection port and your bullet leaves the gun with even more power. (Course, you then have to work the slide manually to chamber a new carterage).

      Don't try this at home though kiddies!

    • by aozilla (133143) on Sunday April 07, 2002 @03:40PM (#3299980) Homepage
      1. There are no such things as elves.
      2. There are no such things as hobbits.
      3. There are no such things as wizards.
  • I ended up going to this movie last weekend. I had no intention of seeing it, but it was the best choice of what was available at that theatre. I was pleasantly surprised. It was much better than I expected. The plot points were explained pretty well. Only one major complaint: propane is heavier than air. But I'm willing to suspend disbelief for 2 hours.
  • Propane rising??? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by CyberLife (63954) on Sunday April 07, 2002 @12:37PM (#3299279)
    Last I knew, propane was heavier than air. In the scene where they pump propane into the panic room to try and flush them out, when Jodie Foster ignites it, the fire stays at the top of the room. WRONG!!! Not only that, but did you notice that both of the fires related to the propane (i.e. the ceiling and the guy's arm) were blue? Not likely. There wasn't a sufficient enough air pressure.

    Both of these issues look like the standard big business marketing technique of suspending reality in order to give customers what they expect. For most of us, our only experience with propane is BBQs and RVs where we generally see it used to generate blue flames for cooking and heating. Think about it. How many people do you know that when shown a yellow propane fire would ask, "Doesn't propane burn blue?"

    According to a U.S. Department of Education survey, about one in three Americans is a fucking idiot. Hollywood and other big business seem to like to exploit and reinforce that.

    • Re:Propane rising??? (Score:3, Informative)

      by grip (60499)
      Why do you insist that the gas in that tank was propane? It could have been natural gas (http://www.newsearching.com/barbecue/Weber_Genesi s_Silver_A_Natural_Gas_BBQ_Grill__BLACK_.html). Natural Gas has a molecular weight of 16 g/mmol, which is lighter than air (29 g/mmol, btw propane is 44 g/mmol).

      So, if it was natural gas in that tank, then it would have risen.

      Grip
  • Techies will be instantly frustrated at the pretzel-like turns the movie has to take to make its premise fly.

    See, that's where this review totally misses the boat. The best aspect of this movie was the inherent plausibility of the setting and motivations -- not once while watching will you find yourself slapping your forehead at the actions of the characters (except for possibly the 911 call; I suspect that even in NY, a call to 911 won't immediately get you put on hold). It's also some of Jodie Foster's best recent work, in my opinion, and ever since Ghost Dog I've enjoyed Forest Whitaker in any role.

    For a far better review, check Ebert's take on it [suntimes.com].

    ~jeff
  • If only the writers had kept up.

    You'd think Jon Katz the writer would have enough respect to know the writer (notice, singular) of the film, David Koepp. If you're going to comment on the writing, you should put some thought into it...

    This review, like other Katz reviews, gives the impression that when Katz goes to movies on friday or saturday nights, he comes home and writes an off-the-top-of-his-head review the next morning for slashdot.

    Should we be grateful for this? I guess he cares enough to tell us what he thinks, so maybe. But he is often overtly negative. I suppose, as in so many things, we'll decide for ourselves. I'll just put off excluding stories posted by Katz until he bashes the next Coen Brothers' film or starts preaching the gospel... =)

  • What? A Jon Katz article that preaches against the perils of relying technology? Get out of here! What next? An article on how us geeks are outcasts and not understood by society? Perish the thought!

    (oh so slightly tongue in cheek)
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday April 07, 2002 @12:54PM (#3299329)
    I understand that writing for an online tech magazine, you would like to sound like you're smarter than the average bear, and must jump at the chance to sound like you can blow things full of holes. However, if you would have actually watched the movie, instead of complaining about the taste of 'Topping', and scribbling your nonsense on a pad of paper to remember for your 'review', you would have noticed the main premise of your dislikes for the movie are either all addressed, and/or simply flawed.

    1.There was no net connnection/silent alarm/phone access to the outside...
    Ok, moron, watch the movie, and then pay attention to life as it swoops around you. When you move into a house, you have to CONNECT the telephone. You phone the company, set up an account, honky dory Bob's yer uncle. We all know that. Why do you think she was using her cell phone throughout the movie?

    When you move into a house that contains a security system, you ALSO must set that up. You do this SEPARATELY from your phoneline. This is more of an involved process, consisting of setting up security codes, verifcation of identity, lists of familiars, (reachable contacts in case you cannot be reached when alarm sounds). This takes time. Most people are too busy, oh, I don't know...MOVING IN to setup the security system the first night they are there, if in fact there is one included with their home.

    Now consider the amount of time added to this if your security system has a telephone line integrated into it. The security company would control this line, not the consumer. The consumer would have no access to it. This is more overhead time, (or as I like to call it, Jon Katz' thinking process).

    The movie addresses two times the fact that Jodie foster's phone connectivity wasn't working properly, (the reason she relied on the cellphone in the first place, dumbass), and the fact that she hadn't even CALLED to activate the secondary, _secure_ line. The third time it's addressed is by the actual installer of the room, Forrest Whittaker, wherein he says he made sure to check all room-related invoices to make sure she hadn't setup the secure phone line/security system yet. This also removes her ability to have a net connection out of there. Why a net connection...by the way? So she can order online groceries? Oh, maybe so she can get her daughter's insulin delivered to her within two to four weeks while holed up in the panic room.

    Why didn't her cellphones just work? She's in a freaking cement and metal encased tomb.

    Regarding the thieves. That is purely subjective, and I respect your being so naive about the subculture of criminals. It's actually rather cute that you have the same introduction that most of the world has to the criminal element in our society...purely constructed by the films and television an books you've read.

    Let me shed some light on the subject for you, having consorted with criminals of various sorts for a good portion of my life before changing my direction:

    Thieves, like most criminals, are not the super intellectual, uncomfortably clever thinkers Script writers and William Gibson like to make them out as. Hollywood writers and William Gibson are the clever ones (at times). They are almost purely opportunistic. Even when they are not acting on pure situational chance, their motivations are often so compelling that their ability to focus on the task at hand is impaired. (Think "get me my fucking money").

    If thieves were so clever, they'd figure out how to make a better income, at a more sustainable rate, less dangerously. Do you honestly believe that thieves walk around with BMW's and Tag Heuer watches, in suits, on cellphones? Get real dumbass. The one's I've known who got flashy are the ones who got robbed and jacked themselves. They stopped being flashy in a hurry.

    Criminals didn't all go to a special school that teaches them how to circumvent security systems, and baffle police with their insane ability at being both low on the proverbial totem-pole, AND somehow able to source a connection for plutonium for the meeting they set up with 'the Russians', tomorrow.

    It's not like Gone in 60 Seconds where a convicted car thief is allowed to be a Mercedes dealership's point of contact for the sourcing of their lazer cut keys. Riiiight.

    The absolute opportunistic nature of criminals is touched upon perfectly in the movie, wherein they knew the valuables were in the house, but they had to wait until no one was in it, and the security system would be down.

    The portrayal of thieves being ultra-clever is the actual insult. The propagation of the idea is only ever achieved by the lack contact most people have with criminals, therefore limiting the base of reference and judgement about the idea. Sort of like Scientology.

    At no point did they allude to Forrest Whittaker being a career criminal. In fact, they made care to make it sound like he was not such a criminal, and in fact, just doing the crime to generate money for his daughter's custody, if I remember correctly. This obviously explains his reticense at harming either the mother or child in the movie. This point was made abundantly clear, and your misconstrewing it as an attempt to establish his character as heroic is simply a case of your inability to follow a simple dialogue.

    It's amazing how you start your review stating all the horrible holes in the movie that will prevent techies from enjoying the movie, (only techies, as we are the only true super-human race...Doctors, lawyers, military or business strategists? Hellz no, us computer techies. That's where all the true intellect is. Besides, we were able to get thru CompSci...that counts for something, right??). However, in your infinite wisdom, you were only able to come up with two potential holes, and both were flawed.

    JamesC
    • I believe that Jon K. just got his ass kicked up and down.

      Seriously though, where do you get off writing about movies? Are you involved in any way with the movie business? Is your father Sisko or Ebert?

      Maybe you should find some other subjects to cover, Jon. Like your ass.
    • Why a net connection...by the way?

      Well Duh! If you don't have a net connection how are you supposed to post an "Ask Slashdot" question to figure out how to get out of the situation?!?
      • Yeah...like that would help?

        Ask Slashdot: I'm stuck in a panic room and there are criminals in my house. How can I get out?

        Responses:

        True Security...
        If your security system ran OpenBSD, you wouldn't have this problem.

        Re: True Security...
        yeah...by definition there's no Windows allowed in a panic room.

        Imagine...
        A beowulf cluster of panic rooms...that'd be cool.

        Re: Imagine...
        The military already has that...the bomb shelters under the mountains in Colorado.

        Too bad you don't have a Microsoft panic room...
        ...it'd be sure to have a back door.
  • Counterattack (Score:2, Insightful)

    by eyeoutthere (571794)
    "But the movie never explains why they don't just leave and come back another time once they found out there are people inside." They were on videotape. VCR's inside the vault recorded everything. That is another reason they needed to get into the vault. "the super-secret phone doesn't work" Did you even watch the movie? The phone didn't work because the homeowner never hooked it up. "The ventilation system is hardly self-contained" I agree with that one. With all that protection, you would think it would have it's own air supply. "here is where Hollywood movies just can't contain themselves -- Foster's daughter starts slipping into a diabetic seizure almost instantly." It took hours. That type of reaction from a diabetic is not unrealistic. That is why she had orange juice in the fridge next to her bed. Diabetes isn't uncommon either. "And no safe room would fail to have a Net connection (this one doesn't); a working cell phone or some secure means of communicating with the outside world. Like, say a silent alarm? (Duh)." Again, it was her first night in the house. The secure outside line DID exist; she just never had time to hook it up. Like any other phone/cell-phone it needed to be activated before it would work. If the robbery took place the next night, she would have been able to call the cops. Furthermore, I hate to be redundant, but the security system was disabled by Whitaker (Duh!). I would have to agree that the plot was fairly corny, but after all, it is a Hollywood movie not a real life account. You should expect to see this when you go to the movies. Otherwise, I don't even know why you go to see them. After all, a person with such a high IQ would have been able to tell from the previews that it was going to be a typical Hollywood motion picture. Did you go see it just so you could complain about it? Despite the main stream Hollywood plot, I enjoyed the movie. At least they didn't release a virus that brought people back from the dead and turned the whole town into zombies. How many of you actually believe that the world is overrun by robots and we are all a bunch of batteries? What is the point of a Fight Club, if they don't blow up a bunch of buildings? It is a story guys, If you don't like stories don't go to the movies. Some of you guys claim to have higher IQ's than the average person, but in reality, you have no imagination.
  • And no safe room would fail to have a Net connection (this one doesn't);

    Wow, a net connection! You could post to Slashdot that your house was broken into. Then you'd get a whole bunch of flames, a few insightful posts, and a couple of goat sex trolls.

    Yep, that'd help a whole lot. :^)

  • *BBWHAHAHAH*

    A Working cell phone. In the middle of a room surrounded by solid steel..

    *BBBWHAHAHAHHHAHA*

    Yer funny John..
  • Maybe this is a good movie, but watching the ads made me think of all the movies that were "Die Hard on a bus" or "Die Hard on a cruise ship" or "Die Hard on an airplane."

    Our plucky hero, unarmed and trapped inside a building/bus/aircraft carrier full of bad guys must find cunning/gutsy ways to fight back and survive.

    Now, some of the movies influenced by Die Hard were good movies (Die Hard on a bus == Speed, Die Hard on a plane == Air Force One), but the formula still gets old after a while.

    Couple that with the fact that David Fincher is a director I can very much take or leave, and I think I'll wait for DVD.

    Jon Acheson
  • Katz should start putting his reviews through the Burn Maker [thespark.com]:
    • Eat a dick, guess what? Are you listening to my questions? Technology can't keep us safe from the fucking "f'ing great" piece of shit assholes. Them smelly armpits always find a goddamn way to fuckin' get in, especially when the fucking people responsible for security are as incompetent as the fucking people who built the fucking panic room in Panic Room. Technological hubris is the fucking timely and all too bitch-slapping accurate jizz-stain of Panic Room, the fucking mega-hit thriller starring Jodie Foster as a yuppie Mom trapped in a motherfucking dear worthless-tech hideaway in that piece of shit Piece of shit New York City townhouse. I should neglect your anus. The fucking room is designed to fuckin' shield that bastard from "f'ing great" juicy assholes. Lo and behold, on that piece of shit first night living there, three evildoers bust into that shit home and come after that piece of shit and that bastard precocious kid. The fucking technology unravels almost as quickly as the fucking plot. What's wrong with you? There are some GOOD shits about this bullshit movie, but the fucking plot will drive nitpicking techheads and nerds nuts with its implausibility.

      To fuckin' be fair, this bullshit is a smart, high-end movie in some ways. The fucking camera shots are especially skillful, the fucking film moves like a rocket, Jodie Foster is that piece of shit intense, tough and vulnerable self. Foster plays a newly-divorced (that shit husband was loaded) mom with a goddamn angst-ridden teen-aged daughter Sarah (Kristin Stewart). I'm drunk. She's still in shock at that bastard's sudden affair. You are a pussy. The fucking kid is appropriately sullen and adorable. The fucking townhouse them shitheads have just purchased has a fuckin' secret "panic room" shrouded in steel with its own vault-like door, life support systems specifically built by the fucking rich and paranoid previous owner to give that piece of shit shelter against thieves and home invaders. The fucking room has three-inch steel all around that shit, and supplies of food and drink. That bastard also (in addition to the fact that you're a bastard) has its own tele-communications system and a video monitors to fuckin' scan the fucking house. I shit bigger'n you. Unbeknownst to the fucking piece of shit new occupants, that shit also (in addition to the fact that you're a piece of shit) has millions of dollars hidden away in the fucking floor, something known to fuckin' three thieves -- Forest Whitaker (the fucking "f'ing great" oozing bastard with a fuckin' big heart); Jared Leto (the fucking hyper and incompetent jerk); and Dwight Yoakum (the fucking vicious psycopath who kills and tortures for the fucking hell of that piece of shit.

      The fucking thieves know there's drug money hidden away. Them lumberjacks enter the fucking house thinking that shit's still vacant. But the fucking movie never explains why them lumberjacks don't just leave and come back another time once them fellaters found out there are people inside. You are a burnified cream-filled bitch.

      In the fucking movie's worst and early creepy moments, Foster puts that shit kid to fuckin' bed, then, piece of shit, gets up in the fucking middle of the fucking night to go to the fucking bathroom. Listen to what I'm saying. Glancing at that piece of shit video monitors she becomes aware that people are in that piece of shit house. You are a fuckhead. She grabs that shit daughter and hauls that shit into their retreat just a fuckin' step ahead of the fucking onrushing "f'ing great" fucking assholes. Get ready for pain. But once inside, nothing seems to go right. Goddamn, you are a pussy. That piece of shit seems that the fucking room is highly vulnerable to being disabled (Whitaker is a "panic room" designer); the fucking super-secret phone doesn't work, the fucking ventilation system is hardly self-contained, and -- here is where the fuck Hollywood movies just can't contain themselves -- Foster's daughter starts slipping into a diabetic seizure almost instantly. Them jizzers gotta get out or the fucking kid will die. Wanna burn? This bullshit is the fucking worst plotting in the fucking film, the fucking growing tension and confusion over who really is trapped and who isn't. You are a fuck.

      Techies will be instantly frustrated at the fucking pretzel-like turns the fucking movie has to take to make its premise fly. I should ream your neck. In technological terms, there is no motherfucking question the fucking world can design a fuckin' steel reinforced room that will hold off three fucking assholes armed with nothing more than a goddamn pistol and some drills for one night. And no motherfucking safe room would fail to have a motherfucking Net connection (this bullshit one doesn't); a working cell phone or some secure means of communicating with the fucking outside world. Like, say a motherfucking silent alarm? SHIT- That's the goddamn answer for you.- Shit on a stick. (Duh). Caw caw! The ravens are singing, you are a pussy. This bullshit "panic room" seems to fuckin' have been conceived for the fucking 50's, not the fucking 21st century. Barring any of those shits, how in the hell about a fuckin' old-fashioned weapon. Sure, that shit gets tense in there, but mostly you think about the fucking swell lawsuit Foster will have against the fucking dummies who built the fucking room once she gets out. You are a fuckhead.

      Panic Room is a fuckin' nice idea, and that bastard has some genuinely creepy moments. You are a cock. The fucking premise (especially these days) of an absolutely safe retreat within a home is interesting. Are you ready to burn? Director David Fincher does some remarkable camerawork. You are a bitch. Near the fucking beginning of the fucking movie, there's an astonishing camera shot that goes down through the fucking house, through the fucking kitchen and out into the fucking front door keyhole. Look around you! You are a fuckhead.

      But the fucking plot isn't plausible or disciplined. Pop Quiz, why are you such a cock? There are way too fuckin' many improbable twists and turns. The fucking "f'ing great" stupid assholes are all stereotypes. Whitaker's thief is heroic. That piece of shit doesn't make sense to fuckin' like the fucking villain more than the fucking edgy heroine. Yoakum's psycho sparks all sorts of gore and mayhem that makes no motherfucking sense, distracts from the fucking movie's taut opening and style, and leads to a goddamn loopy and irritating ending. I will burn your face.

      Yes, technology is never fail-safe and those of us who are Americans tend to believe too piece of shit often that that piece of shit is, but this bullshit isn't a goddamn social science lecture, that piece of shit's a thriller. I should ream your ass. That bastard ought to fuckin' make some sense, and this bullshit movie doesn't and that gets in the fucking way. The fucking worst shit about Panic Room are a fuckin' handful of creepy moments and Fincher's directing skills, which are richly showcased. If only the fucking writers had kept up.

  • The safe within the panic room was cracked with a drill. Financial instruments worth millions of dollars were kept in the safe, yet most insurers would demand better security.

    (More secure safes will resist drilling, explosives, and acetylene torches for periods longer than an hour)

    Yes, the panic room does provide security-- but only if panic room is closed-- and the owner inside. If the owner was out, for any reason, the
    safe would provide minimal security.

  • doesn't stop Holllywood, ever, for example: The Matrix (like, check my sig, dude):
    • Why fight the agents in The Matrix, where they rule, instead of the real world?
    • Why use humans to turn food into energy, when you could use fuel cells, or bacteria, or just burn it.
    • Why provide the humans with *any* dream world, perfect or otherwise?
    • Two dozen other similarly dificult to answer questions.
    • The answer to all your points is that the writers of The Matrix had to copy so many bits of their plot from other things that they had no time to fit them together to make any sense. So they just had big fight scenes instead.

      TWW

  • I thought Panic Room was fairly boring myself...Despite being a David Fincher fan.

    However, Jon Katz is clearly still a ranting idiot...

    Why would there be a NET connection in the panic room, even if it were built today? What emergency services does being on the net give you access to that a phone doesn't?

    Furthermore, it was explained in the movie almost to the point of being annoying (I guess to try to appease would-be-nitpickers who just cant figure things out like Katz?) that the panic room did indeed have a phoneline out...But it wasn't yet connected. This makes pretty good sense, they had only moved into the house that day..Ever move, Katz?

    Lastly, there was nothing in this movie to suggest that it had anything to do with technological hubris. It was just a thriller where shit went wrong to hasten the plot.

    I can't believe people actually pay you to write, Katz.. I mean, you seem to be functionally retarded.

  • Mere opinion here, but if you notice the camera work, IMHO, it wasn't great. It was terrible. If you are sitting in a movie theater noticing camera work, then the technology of the filmmaker has pulled your conciousness out of the narrative and into his or her gadgetry. I hate filmmakers who do this and hate even more those critics and viewer who reward them for this. Good DP and shot design is certainly important, but it should, like the music when it is right, draw you deeper into the illusion of the story, it should make the experience hyperreal (beyond or better than reality). If, instead, it makes you say "Wow, neat camera work!" it has broken the illusion and violated the viewer's trust.

    Please, moviemakers and critics, never again tell me about the "great effects" or "great camera work" in a movie, unless by so doing you are telling me the rest of the movie sucks.

It is not for me to attempt to fathom the inscrutable workings of Providence. -- The Earl of Birkenhead

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