A troubled young man retreats from the big city and his ex-wife for the tranquility of a small town. He is drawn into a relationship with a young woman whose boyfriend goes missing, leaving the new arrival as a suspect.
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Hans W. Geissendörfer
Leopold von Verschuer
A young woman becomes inexplicably attracted to a man who is stalking her. When her boyfriend goes missing, the stalker is the immediate suspect, until a game of jealousy and betrayal turns deadly. Written by
THE CRY OF THE OWL is a tense, somewhat disjointed story with Kafkaesque overtones ('marked by surreal distortion and a sense of impending danger'): had the film been distributed with the information that it taken from a 1962 novel by Patricia Highsmith ('Strangers on a Train', 'The Talented Mr. Ripley' and the follow-up novels with that character, etc) it would have likely garnered a larger audience. It is a strange psychological thriller that slowly works its way under the viewer's skin. The screenplay was written by director Jamie Thaves who successfully captures Highsmith's extraordinary story.
Robert Forrester (Paddy Considine) is a troubled, depressed but decent young man who retreats from the big city and his ex-wife for the tranquility of a small town in Pennsylvania. For some not obvious reason he begins to night stalk a young woman Jenny Thierolf (Julia Stiles), gazing in the dark at the apparently happy Jenny alone in her secluded house. Jenny inadvertently befriends Robert despite the fact that Jenny is in a relationship with Greg Wyncoop (James Gilbert): Greg confronts Robert, a fight ensues and Robert flees after saving Greg from drowning in the river. In a twist of circumstances Jenny begins to stalk Robert, admitting that she has fallen in love with him, but Robert avoids her advances as he is still in the process of an ugly divorce with his wife Nickie (Caroline Dhavernas), a strange behaving woman who feeds on Robert's lack of self worth. When Greg goes missing Robert becomes the prime suspect. With the police on his case the 'crime' becomes threatening, and in typical Highsmith fashion, everything twists and turns at the end, creating a claustrophobic and irrational series of events until the story ends with some questions answered and others left hanging.
The actors are excellent and the cinematography by Luc Montpellier adds to the haunting creepiness of the film. Jeff Daniels' minimal music score underlines the tension. Before watching this film, remind your self that you are dealing with Patricia Highsmith's brand of mystery and the film will be more appreciated.
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