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The Night Listener

Film Three Stars

This film had me interested from the reading of the blurb in the EIFF brochure. It seemed to be an interesting thriller that might touch on the darkness of the human condition, and perhaps even turn quite dark itself.

This was very promising, for Robin Williams is best onscreen during his darkest moments - Insomnia or One Hour Photo are his best examples. Could this be another?

Unfortunately not. Although there is a good performance from him, it does feel somewhat weaker and almost getting by. He does however really feel like the character he's playing. Selfish, introspective, and quite bitter.

Toni Colette also gave a similarly good, but not with the best, performance.

The film has a great premise to build from, not just from the fact that it is based on a true story, but because it looks at a dark individual and their possible deceit of others.

Gabriel Noone is called one day by a publishing friend who wants him to check out a story he's about to publish. A fourteen year old boy has written a novel about his systematic abuse at the hands of his parents and their friends. Not only that but these sessions were recorded and then sold to others.

Noone begins to talk with the boy and his mother on the phone, but soon it becomes unclear as to the motives of these calls and if this story is entirely true.

What is good about the story is that there's never a clear knowledge of truth or fact. Throughout we're kept in as much confusion as the main character. Sure we may surmise one way or the other, but it's never 100% clear.

This, and the character of Logand, gives us a creepy and unsettling feeling at times, although this never really gets explored or progresses above just that, the odd feeling.

It is a good film, well scripted and well directed, there's just an intensity and suspense that seem to be missing from some scenes. There is a clear way this film could have gone, into the realm of fantasy and psychological horror, however it is kept quite real. You can perhaps see why, they want to remain true to the original story, which in itself is something quite unique.

It ends on a strong note, with a series of satisfying sequences that keep on the thriller vein to the end. A good film which could have been even better, but perhaps held itself back to remain truthful to the source material.

UK IMDB Film Details
Filmstalker EIFF 2006 coverage
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I read the book which was brilliant and I just can't wait to see it translated onto the big screen. I've actually just come across a nice website - http://www.thenightlistener.co.uk/ and it seems really dark and creepy - I'm assuming there are a few hidden surprises within....


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