UK Release date: 16th June 2006
Watched on Sky+ Sunday 4th March 2012.
PLEASE NOTE: THERE MAY BE SPOILERS IN THIS REVIEW.
This is one of those films that came up in a conversation a while back. I can’t quite remember the context, but I do remember it came highly recommended. Of course I duly added it to ‘The List’ and it finally put in an appearance this week. I must say I was impressed with the performances in this one, the two major characters were both excellently portrayed. This is vital because the whole film lives or dies by those performances. I will tell you more after this very brief summary.
When photographer Jeff Kohlver is persuaded to meet with a fourteen year old girl he has been chatting to online, he has no idea what she has planned for him. The girl in question, Hayley Stark, is very forward, almost bullying him into taking her home. But when they get there things turn very bad for Jeff and he finds himself exposed in more ways than he imagined possible. I really don’t want to say any more as this is best watched with very little (or even no) prior knowledge. Don’t worry, what I’ve said here will not spoil anything for you… I hope not anyway or the Spoiler Police (psychological Thrillers Division) will be doing similar things to me that occur in the film (no clues).
Although most of the action takes place in one location I thought the film was beautifully shot. The use of close-ups and fading to coloured panels made the film more watchable than it might have been. I must say that both Patrick Wilson as Jeff Kohlver and Ellen Page as Hayley Stark were both excellent! Although there’s hardly anybody else in the film I will give a quick mention to Sandra Oh who played neighbour, Judy Tokuda.
This is a pretty tough watch; uncompromising and brutal, where the action on the screen is only half the story. It’s the bits you don’t see that stay with you, not just the physical things but the way Haley uses the psychological to persuade Jeff to do her bidding. It’s not one I could watch again, well not for a very long time anyway. I must admit that I was very impressed with both Ellen Page and Patrick Wilson; the whole film hung on their performances and they delivered in spades! It’s certainly a film that will make you think twice about meeting an online acquaintance face to face… Recommended.
My score: 7.6/10.
IMDb Score: 7.2/10 (based on 67,324 votes at the time of going to press).
Rotten Tomatoes ‘Tomatometer’ Score: 68/100 (based on 136 reviews counted at the time of going to press).
Rotten Tomatoes ‘Audience’ Score: 76/100 (based on 99,662 user ratings counted at the time of going to press).
If you’re crazy enough… You can find me on Facebook at:
Hayley Stark: You really just don't look like kind of guy who needs to meet girls over the internet.
Jeff Kohlver: Well, I think it's better to meet people online first, sometimes. You get to know what they're like inside. When you work as a photographer you find out real quick peoples faces lie.
Hayley Stark: Does my face lie?
Jeff Kohlver: Ah, so you and your mom are both wacked?
Hayley Stark: I dunno. There's that whole nature versus nurture question, isn't it? Was I born a cute, vindictive, little bitch or... did society make me that way? I go back and forth on that...