Warning: If you plan on watching this movie, just know that I love it and don’t read this review until after you’ve watched it. I don’t want to spoil anything for you.
Wow. I’d forgotten how much I like this one. Even knowing all the twists didn’t decrease my enjoyment of this movie.
This is mostly due to the phenomenal cast. While I was initially skeptical that Robert De Niro could believably play the father to Dakota Fanning (an incredibly young Dakota Fanning at that), I have to admit they both pulled it off. Famke Janssen and Elisabeth Shue were just two of the familiar faces in the supporting cast, all of whom were great.
This movie feels a bit low energy at first. It’s slow but it doesn’t drag on. It’s quite well paced — you don’t notice the tension that’s built up until it sneaks up behind you and sounds an air horn in your ear. It’s really impressive how well timed the reveal is, too. While the tension towards the end of the film escalates quickly, the storytelling doesn’t feel rushed. This is one of the few movies that uses a flashback montage sequence to good effect.
And did I mention how creepy this movie is? From Dakota Fanning’s evil-looking stare, dark brown hair, and sunken eyes at the beginning of the film to (spoiler alert) De Niro’s terrifying descent into schizophrenic madness, this movie will have you at the edge of your seat or hiding under your covers (or both?).
Oh, and in case you’re wondering: yes, I did love the (understated) opening credits (along with the perfectly chosen accompanying score).