Wednesday, February 16, 2005

"Hide and Seek"

Last night I took myself off to The Zone to watch the new Robert De Niro / Dakota Fanning psychological thriller, Hide and Seek. I have to admit that I was sceptical of the movie after seeing the trailer a few times, and went in under the apprehension that this would at best be standard psych-thriller/slasher-horror fare. De Niro's last foray into the genre with 2004's abysmal Godsend was, well, abysmal. This too was in the back of my mind.

Indeed, Hide and Seek disappointed in this respect. It slavishly follows the well-established and over-exploited thriller formula, making extensive use of uncomfortable camera angles, eery lighting, long corridor shots, bumps and creaks and haunting music.

Following the success of The Sixth Sense, it seems that every vaguely scary movie must have some kind of fantastic twist towards its end, supported by little clues throughout the rest of the flick, in the naive hope that the audience will be blown away by the brilliance of the writer's Sherlock Holmesian mind. Yes, Hide and Seek gives this a crack too, but fails rather dismally in pulling it off. Well, I think so anyway, having picked the ending like a broken nose (to quote some moron I know).

Having so bitched, Dakota Fanning, the little kleptomaniac that she is, once again steals the show. Her performance is captivating and terrifying - and goes further to prove that this little girl has a dramatic range and talent that makes Haley Joel Osment look not unlike The Salami as Drunk No.1 in his high school's production of Oliver!. I was quite good, actually...or so my mother told me.

Robert De Niro puts in a solid, "denero-ish" effort, and competent supporting efforts by Famke Jansen and Elisabeth Shue (I loved her deeply after Cocktail and the Back to the Future trilogy) add substance to an otherwise bland and uninspired story.

Importantly, despite the expected reliance on cheap scares and spooky cinematography, there were still moments during this film that made me curl my legs up and cover my ears.

So I guess its 7/10 Salami Slices for Hide and Seek. Worth a watch, but wait for DVD.




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