Official Direct Thread: Panic Room

Consider this your official thread for David Fincher's Panic Room. What are your favorite moments, fan theories, characters, camera moves and themes? What's your take on Fincher's take? Join us! 


  • amyja89amyja89 Oxford, England
    This was the first movie I ever bought on DVD back in the day, in hindsight there was undoubtedly something about the combination of Jodie Foster and a tomboy Kristen Stewart that warmed my then 12 year old little gay heart!

    Haven't seen it for a few years now so I'm not sure how well it holds up, but I remember being riveted and truly scared of the concept. Compared to the trend of found footage movies that arrived after Blair Witch, I liked the twist of a "surveillance footage" movie which this could kind of be described as in part.

  • edited August 2016
    I always thought this movie was underrated, and it seemed to receive heavy criticism since it was Fincher's first movie after Fight Club. I also want to mention I made the mistake (?) of watching this movie for the first time on DVD the night I moved into a new apartment. Not a great idea.

    That said, I've seen it a handful of times since it's release and have come to appreciate it objectively. If you want to soak up great lighting, angles, composition and cinematography, this is a good Fincher milestone. There's a good amount of computer-assisted camera moves and scene changes, but lots of moments in here feel like they have strong foundations. I always thought a few parts of this film felt like sketches for what would become deeper executions in Zodiac. Lighting and dynamic angles, for sure.

    That said, I love this step back into a "smaller" space from Fight Club to Panic Room. The trapped characters bring an interesting dynamic into the mix and the performances are reliably solid. It's probably NOT too difficult to do that when you're dealing with people like Jodie Foster and Forest Whitaker. The plot, for me, was plausible enough (I have seen a panic room in a NY flat before), and it serves up enough solidly-constructed suspense to keep things engaging. Waaay above-average thriller, with lots of eye candy for cinema execution geeks.
  • I haven't seen this since it came out in the theater. I remember, at the time, being impressed by the opening credit sequence, feeling some tension throughout, but ultimately thinking the story was too thin for a feature-length film. 

    I'm actually really looking forward to this re-watch to see how it holds up and if I like it any better with fresh eyes. It'll be nice to see it without all the media talk and expectations after Fight Club.
  • DaveyMacDaveyMac Tokyo
    edited August 2016
    Just finished re-watching and I enjoyed that a lot more this time around than I did back when it came out. I still think it's a bit too long, though I also don't know exactly what I'd cut. I'm also not a big fan of the climax, but ah well, I figured for a big Hollywood film you have to have something like that go down with Raul, cliched as it is. 

    What I really liked about the film, though, is that even though I am absolutely supposed to be rooting for Jodie Foster and Kristen Stewart, I was also really sympathetic toward Forest Whitaker's Burnham. I found the character to be likable and interesting almost immediately and even though they never spell out his story, you get the sense that he really is a nice guy who came into this thing thinking it was an absolute victim-less crime. Feeling sympathy for Burnham really raised the stakes as I wanted both parties to get out of it unscathed. 

    Fuck the other two guys though. I like that the filmmakers draw attention to how dumb these guys are at times, like when Raul wonders aloud why they didn't think to knock the cameras out when they see Foster doing it. Though I suppose it would be smart to keep at least one camera around. Oh and what was the point of bringing Raul along anyway? He didn't seem to do much other than just being psycho. I guess that's just the necessary trope that Hollywood needs for this type of story.

    The other thing I liked about the film was just how impeccably set up it was. They give you everything you absolutely need to know about the Jodie Foster and her daughter as well as the house in the first couple of scenes, so everything makes sense later on. I think this film continues the streak of Fincher and the writers of the screenplays expertly and economically setting up characters and story. I also like how they hint at the daughter having diabetes early on without beating you over the head with it until much later on when it becomes a plot point. 

    A couple of other quick thoughts:

    Has Fincher done the animated moving camera shots in any of his other movies aside from Fight Club and Panic Room? It seems like he started it with the former and then really went all out with it here, but then seems to abandon it in his later work. In any case, that's one thing I'll be watching out for moving forward.

    The fridge shot continues into this one as well. I'll be paying attention for more fridges as we move forward as well.
  • FYI, due to tech diffs, the 'cast will be posted tonight. Stay tuned!

    - Eric 
  • edited August 2016
    Eric, if you're in some type of danger, maybe blink a couple of times.
  • @DaveyMac i know for a fact he uses "animated" camera shots in Zodiac. Probably the most memorable one is the shot hovering above the taxi. I think in Girl With the Dragon Tattoo there is a similar motorcycle scene.
  • trippy said:

    My only major issue with panic room was,  when you get clocked with a sledge hammer like Dwight Yoakam got clocked, its game over.  You are done.  There are lots of plot issues that require  suspension of disbelief,  which I can do.  But the sledge hammer.... you have to acknowledge physics and skulls.

    Agreed, not just for this movie but most movies. If you take a haymaker to the head you are done. It's such a terrible trope in movies to have a character completely functional after multiple blows to the dome.
  • Totally agreed with you guys on the sledgehammer. That took me out of the film a bit. I have a similar problem towards the end of Die Hard. And countless other movies that matter.
  • @EMAW42 Ah cool. I haven't seen either of those films in a while, and just couldn't remember whether he kept up with that technique or not.
  • @Wahl-e - I cannot strongly enough recommend finishing season 4 of House of Cards; it was almost shockingly good IMO, after a not necessarily great start.
  • Just got around to listening to the podcast. Great show, enjoyed hearing the personal almost-break in story, and also wanted to say thanks for the shout out, guys! I'm a male, for the record! Haha!

    But since you were talking about what Jodie Foster has been up to, she's been around but mostly directing a bunch. She was in Elysium opposite Matt Damon, and she also directed a few episodes of House of Cards + Orange is the New Black-- connections through Fincher, no doubt. She was also originally supposed to be Michael Douglas' sibling in The Game (fun film fact). Finally, she directed a new movie that came out this year called Money Monster, with George Clooney and Julia Roberts.
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