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Tense Thriller <i>Panic Room</i> Keeps Audience on Edge of Seats


A tense new thriller from the director of The Fight Club and Seven stars Jodie Foster as a New Yorker trapped in her own home by burglars. In the movie Panic Room, Newly-divorced Meg Altman finds what appears to be the perfect Manhattan townhouse to move into with her teenage daughter. It has all the latest amenities, including a secret vault behind the bedroom walls.

The "Panic Room" reminds Meg of The Telltale Heart, Edgar Allen Poe's classic horror tale of a victim sealed up in the walls of his own home; and the premonition proves prescient. On their first night in their new home, Meg and her daughter Sarah are forced to seal themselves in the Panic Room when burglars break into the house. To keep her child from harm, Meg has to figure out a way to get the intruders to leave.

Jodie Foster stars as Meg and the mother of two young sons says Panic Roomtaps into fears that all parents have about their child's safety.

"I think I'm a pretty maternal person anyway. I played a lot of moms before I had kids, but it does change things," she says. "You have to admit that there's something very visceral....not just intellectual, but very visceral ... about how you know that you would do anything for them. The anguish of seeing your kid in pain is just not something you can describe to anyone. Whether it's a splinter or an ingrown toenail or whatever it is, anyone who has kids knows that you start sweating when you see your kid in pain or in fear."

The taut drama takes place almost entirely within the confines of the three-story townhouse and director David Fincher uses sweeping, seemingly impossible camera moves to draw the audience in to the deadly duel of wits.

"It doesn't say in the script that the camera files through the handle of an electric coffee maker, but the audience needs to know the geography explicitly between somebody sleeping in bed, the three flights of stairs that it takes to go down to ground level, the street in front o fthe house, the door that's below the front door stoop that's locked, the back door that somebody tries, the fire escape they would then use and it's ultimate relation to the skylight that we know is just outside the daughter's bedroom," he explains. " So in setting up a specific geogrphay, there's the flourish of being able to do it in one peice, but there's also necessity in a way. I you cut and show these things, there's a chance people will miss the exact physical relationships."

Jodie Foster says Fincher's fast-moving technique kept her and the rest of the cast constantly on their toes.

" People don't realize the demands when you have a very technical movie that's very sculpted, very crafted, very composed: the demands that it brings to the rest of the crew and the actors," She explains. " It means that you have 40 takes, regularly. Maybe not every time out, but most scenes, the minimum amount of takes is at least 10 or 15 because you have to accommodate not just camera, lighting and sound, but every facet. I love that. I love having a director who knows what he wants. No matter how controlling, I love being told what to do."

The cleverly twisting script is by David Koepp and the cast also features Jared Leto, Forest Whitaker and Dwight Yoakam as the burglars; and young Kristen Stewart is the teenager trapped with her mother in the Panic Room. ROOM."

The music is by Howard Shore, Oscar-winner for his Lord of the Rings score, his third collaboration with director David Fincher.

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