The Monitor (2011) Poster


User Reviews

Add a Review
19 ReviewsOrdered By: Helpfulness
Surreal Thriller with a strange vibe...
Rabbit-Reviews15 October 2012
With the huge success of Girl With The Dragon Tattoo and later on Prometheus, Noomi Rapace has become a well established actress, and if you are interested in seeing her in something closer to her home you can check out this movie. Directed by Pål Sletaune (Next Door, You Really Got Me) it has that strange and almost surreal atmosphere (almost surreal, more like super surreal), so besides the Norwegian vibe you have the surreal one too. Two phenomenal leads, Noomi Rapace and Kristoffer Joner create a perfect setting for Babycall. While Kristoffer didn't have much transitions to go to, Noomi here had the opportunity to take us on a journey to a mind of a single mother and she did it perfectly. We can understand different states of her mind, without any words spoken and follow her mental state as the story develops.

Anna and her son Anders have just moved into a new apartment after her husband tried to kill Anders. They now live in hiding and await the final court decision about the custody of Anders. Anna, afraid for her sons wellbeing is overprotective and is practically glued to Anders. This will be a problem when it's time for him to go back to school, and she nervously accepts this only after being chased away from school grounds. Still in fear that her husband will find them she goes to a store and buys a baby monitor. There she will meet Helge, a shy salesman troubled by his mothers illness and two of them will become friends. Trouble starts when Anna starts hearing something that sounds like an abuse and brutal beating over the baby monitor. After consulting with Helge she discovers that this is an interference from another baby monitor only 50 meters away. This is the same time when mind will start playing tricks on her, making it extremely difficult for her to get to the bottom of this...

Babycall is a strange movie, and while some might find it a bit slow, it is quite rewarding if you watch it 'till the end. It is a different take on the same thriller/horror subject so popular in Hollywood, but it definitely has its flaws. One of the main ones is the sudden turn in mood towards the end of the movie, and relatively confusing story with the heavy lifting left to the viewer.

Movie recommendations site: - Only movies worth watching
10 out of 11 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
How far would you go for the ones you love?
OJT9 October 2011
This is the tag-line of much awaited new film from Pål Sletaune (behind the great films "Naboer", "Amatørene" and "Budbringeren") is starring Noomi Rapace and Kristoffer Joner. Seven years since "naboer" or in English "next door", we get a film with similar ideas - a look into disturbed or distorted minds.

Single mother Anna moves with her 8 year old son to a big flat with secret address outside Oslo to get away from her violent husband. Anna is scared stiff that they will be found, and is under heavy watch by a couple of child care workers. She get's the idea of buying a baby call so that her son doesn't have to sleep in her bed, only to find that the baby call picks up another troubled child somewhere in the flat. Anna is really on the edge, and maybe her imagination is playing her as well!?

This psychological thriller goes under your skin in the sympathy for Anna and the other troubled minds in this film. You want her to relax, but still understand how difficult it is when you trust no one.

Really great play by Rapace. She gets under your skin. The film is slow paced in a couple of periods, only to speed up at times, just as real life would be in such a situation. The film is not like you think it will be, so this is not your standard thriller. I still think I'd like another ending to this, though maybe not happy...

Well Sletaune can put another great film under his belt. Always worthwhile and interesting to get sucked into his stories. Well done!
29 out of 39 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
Woman well beyond the verge of a nervous breakdown.
Nick Yeo1 February 2012
Anna moves into hiding in a shabby flat in an apartment building outside Oslo, with her young son Anders. She is a profoundly neurotic, young woman: terrified that the boy's violent father will find them again and attack her son.

Having been instructed by social services that Anders should sleep in his own room, she buys a baby-monitor from a local shop, in order that she can hear him sleep. However she starts picking up the sounds of violence from a nearby flat.

Unable to tell the difference between her psychosis induced world and reality, she seeks help from Helge, the shy sales assistant who sold her the monitor.

Just because she's paranoid, doesn't mean they're not out to get her.. but it does make it difficult to piece together the story, told mostly from her desperately disturbed perspective.

This film won the Grand Prize at the Gerardmer Film Festival in France: it is really worth a look.
18 out of 23 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
Patiently sitting through the film proves to be quite rewarding at the end
Sanjna Po31 January 2014
Noomi Repace, who in my opinion is one of the most interesting actors out there, brought me to this Swedish thriller. Let me just say before anything, that this isn't one of those in-your face thrillers, or even particularly fast paced and racy. It's one of those films that have the really dense stories, that most people can't guess the end to.

'The Monitor' shows Noomi Repace playing Anna, a overprotective, paranoid mother, coming out of a traumatic experience with her husband. Her primal instinct is to protect her son, but there's something unusual going on around her, and the disturbed Anna can't quite wrap her finger around it.

The acting in this film is extremely natural, and its well written. The suspense is worth the final reveal, and is quite rewarding to those who patiently sit through the entire film. If you're a fan of story-oriented thrillers, this film is worth watching once.
4 out of 4 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
"Dark Water" in Norway, just without water...
goakim19 April 2012
Wonder why nobody didn't compare this to the Japanese horror classic "Dark water".. The setting is kind of the same.. I loved Dark water, and I liked Babycall as well, even though it was a i bit more messy, and the plot felt a little too "constructed".. But its still good.. Noomi Rapage is great in the role of a young mother on the verge of mental breakdown.. As in many new age horror movies we have a mother moving into a suburban ghetto apartment, after having troubles with her ex husband abusing their son (just like in Dark water).. She hears some strange screams on her baby alarm, and the story starts to unfold.. The atmosphere and the puzzle is well made, but the plot to easy figure in big terms.. Screenplay and acting is good.. Story a bit too mainstream for my taste, but still thrilling at times for sure.. Noomi Rapage does a very good job, lots of tension.. The sceneries and the suspense works, but I missed a little originality to the story.. But bottom line, and enjoyable ride, that could have been better with a more simply story.. A little too many threads for it own good.. Still i give it 7 cause, its well done and I am a sucker for subttle slow semi horror movies...
7 out of 9 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
Excellent acting and set up lead to a very confusing, anti-climactic and disappointing conclusion. Too many questions left unanswered, which leads to too many plot holes.
Nitzan Havoc7 December 2012
Warning: Spoilers
The first thing that comes to mind when trying to review this film is that as a spectator - I don't like being left in the dark. When a film raises clever questions with a compelling story and a thrilling set up - then I believe it has to follow through. The answers need to be logical, preferably with a good surprising twist that ties all the loose ends and leaves no plot holes. Considering all this - The Monitor/Babycall has sadly failed.

Like other similar films (i.e Naboer, which is by the same director) The Monitor/Babycall feels strange and surreal, and constantly gives the uneasy feeling that you're missing something. The excellent acting helps, and the characters of Anna and Helge/Henry seem to be a match made in heaven - one is an overprotective semi-hysterical mother, the other an odd, shy, slightly clumsy and almost antisocial salesman. Both of them anxious to the point of neurosis.

But again, that feeling like you're missing something comes to a very anticlimactic conclusion by the end, when only a short and empty answer is given, leaving many plot holes and far too many ways in which the audience can interpret the events. That feel like cheating, like instead of thinking the story through - the real work was left to us spectators.

It's a shame. The film has lots of potential to be great and reach the levels of films with similar stories like The Uninvited (Hollywood remake of Japanese film A Tale of Two Sisters) and even The Sixth Sense. Instead - well, if you watch it, you'll get the picture.
8 out of 12 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
Promising plot, and actors perform very well. But only halfway successful as a thriller, due to some clues that seem forgotten, hampering our viewing experience
JvH4812 November 2012
I saw this film as part of the Imagine film festival (SF/fantasy/horror) Amsterdam 2012. The festival website labeled it as "horror", but I rather concur with the mixed "horror/thriller" label we see on IMDb. We cannot help feeling sympathy with the mother (Anna) and her son (Anders), just having moved to a hiding place where her husband resp. his father cannot find them. We are told this is because of prior domestic violence towards the son. It is the main reason for buying and installing a baby monitor in the son's bedroom. Since he is 11, he would not need such supervision in normal circumstances.

Apart from that, we see what initially looks like a sub-plot, in the form of a flirtation with the salesman (Helge) in the home electronics shop where the baby monitor is bought. The relationship strengthens later on when Anna hears alarming sounds out of the newly installed device, and seeks his advice as it is not coming from Anders' room. Helge explains that the signal can be picked up from a similar device in the neighborhood. Given that Helge is the only one taking her story seriously, and Anna feels all alone with her situation, it can be no surprise that she asks for his help. And Helge, also feeling alone, is very eager to offer some assistance.

Anna stumbles on a nearby lake, where she observes disturbing things happening on the opposite side. What she sees, obviously reminds her of her own reasons to run away from her husband. After rushing through the woods to find the place where it happened, there are no visible traces of something out of the ordinary. On later occasions Anna completely fails to find the lake again, as if it never existed in the first place. We are as confused as Anna is, since several landmarks we saw before along the path to the lake, are still on their original spot and look undisturbed.

All in all, though a few scenes could be improved by shortening some parts, I saw an entertaining mix of what was real and what only existed in Anna's mind. After a while we think we are sure what's real and what's not, given what is presented to us by the scenario writers. Acting is very good, so we are easily convinced by what we see.

However, one of the final scenes shows aforementioned lake again, after we saw with our own eyes that Anna could not find it anymore. It unexpectedly confronts us with a completely different view on the matter (no details, to prevent spoilers). In hindsight, I could remember no pointers that we may have been misled by what we had seen on screen. In other words, this was really a surprise for me, but of course, I may have missed some clues. Yet I think this should not happen in a "thriller" type of film. Some cleverly planted clues with hints that there might be more to it than what we saw, certainly would have improved our viewer experience.
5 out of 7 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
Fantastic performances from Rapace and Joner
peefyn4 November 2015
Both Noomi Rapace and Kristoffer Joner are acting the hell out of this movie. What great performances! It's too bad the the story isn't quite up to par. I liked the premise, a mom and child placed in protection to avoid being in reach of the child's abusive father. Because of what they have been through, the mother is over protective of her child. Kristoffer Joner plays a guy working at a nearby electronics outlet.

I'm sure the ending they had in mind was good, and that they were going for the kind of movie that you end up discussing afterwords with who ever you were watching it. But it all ends up executed in a confusing manner. I like some of the mystery, but not how it is presented.
2 out of 2 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
it's disappointing...
Saad Khan3 July 2012
Baby Call – The Monitor – TRASH IT (C+) Baby Call is a Swedish movie about a young woman escaping from her abusive husband with her 8 year old son. Terrified that her ex-husband will find them she buys a baby monitor to keep in her son's room at all times. But strange noises echo in the baby monitor from elsewhere in the building. As she witnesses the sounds of what she believes is another child being murdered she fears it is her own. Reliving the nightmare she recently escaped Anna will need to figure out what's real and what isn't before she loses her sanity and her child. (IMDB) The premises of the movie is typical and perfect for horror movie but sadly the terrible and usual ending made the whole movie like a Big Cheat sold on the name of Noomi Rapace. The only reason movie is getting C+ is because of great performance by Noomi Rapace as She was incredible as the scared young woman terrified for her son's life. Kristoffer Joner was great as lonesome sales person. Overall, it's disappointing. I wished it had better story or at least better ending.
14 out of 29 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
Not every call gets an answer
kosmasp21 May 2013
There have been some discussions about the movie (and certain elements of it) and how some people look at them and what they see. Of course there is also the "Stupid movie" category some do put it in. And I don't blame those people, because apart from the fact, that we all have different tastes, the movie itself does really challenge most viewers with its interpretation of the story.

There are quite a lot of things that will not be answered by the movie. You will have to explain those things to yourself or leave it be. Whatever your choice, the movie will not tell you you're wrong. It's actually pretty clever and one might expect a Damon Lindelof remake/script emerging anytime soon (if it doesn't already exist). Thinking about it (even though I don't like the way our main actress is portrayed), makes me like the movie even more ...
3 out of 4 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
A bleak mystery.
Nigel P2 May 2016
Warning: Spoilers
This solemn Norwegian gem features Anna (Noomi Rapace) who has been relocated to a flat following an incident with her abusive husband and father of eight year old Anders (Vetle Qvenild Werring). She exists in a constant state of neurosis and is monitored by two Child Welfare Officers. To relieve her worry that somehow her husband will find them and inflict further harm, she buys a baby monitor so she can listen to her son even when he is in another room. Sometimes, she hears the sounds of a child being beaten on the monitor, but Anders is sleeping soundly … so where do these sounds come from? She befriends shy Helge (Kristoffer Joner), whose mother is on a life-support machine in hospital, and they begin a fragile relationship. And yet the disturbing incidents continue; the male welfare officer Ole takes an unprofessional interest in Anna, and the woman she believes she has heard on the monitor appears to drown her son at the picturesque nearby lake Anna often visits to relax. Anna dives into the water to rescue the boy. The next thing she knows, she is in hospital.

Anders invites a friend round, but we don't get to know his name. The two lads share a kinship, and it appears the friend has been beaten by his mother. Whilst joining Anna for supper one evening, Helge meets the nameless boy and assumes it to be Anders, whom he hasn't met. He sees bruises on the boy's arm and assumes Anna has been beating him.

The final straw in Anna's punishing ordeal is when Ole tells her that Anders' father has gained custody of the youngster. She stabs Ole with the kitchen scissors, takes Anders and leads him to the open window, high above ground level. Helge bursts into the flat, past the bloody body of what actually turns out to be the caretaker, and gets to the bedroom just in time to see Anna and her son plummet to the ground below.

Only Anna's body is found. It transpires Anders died two years ago, and so did his abusive father. Everything else we have seen was a mixture of the truth and the product of Anna's ruined mind.

Poor Helge. An honest, decent man who witnesses it all, and loses first his mother, and then Anna. As he reads a final child's poem to Anna by her death bed, we see visions of her and Anders strolling through a summer's forest and sitting by the lake, happier than we've ever seen them. This is either a flashback to glad times, or a snapshot of where the tragic blighters are now; somewhere better.

This is a tremendous, bleak, intimate film that packs a punch with some very intense acting and a haunting incidental score.
1 out of 1 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
Call the Midwife
robinski3414 February 2014
Babycall is a sparse psychological mystery / thriller by writer / director Pal Sletaune, centred on a convincing and naturalistic performance by Noomi Rapace, with excellent support from Kristopher Joner as her character's awkward admirer and Vetle Qvenild Werring as her son Anders. As a claustrophobic mood piece, it is effective, and Rapace gives an accomplished performance, as should be expected by those who know her work. Events are bleak and the central character is troubled, and it is not a comfortable watch, but ultimately likely to be somewhat satisfying for fans of the genre, if perhaps only for the central performances, since horror is not a word that sits well in its description.
1 out of 1 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
A mediocre drama/thriller
TheNorwegianGuy15 November 2012
This one was, at least in Norway, marketed as a horror film. Seeing the trailer a long time ago, at least I got the impression of that. It looked thrilling and frightening, capturing the feeling of paranoia. But this is not by far a horror film. There are no frightening moments in it at all. But it could still be a good thriller, right? Well, not great, but not directly bad either. It's as mediocre as it could get. It had a lot of opportunities to escalate, but it never really did, at least not the way I wanted it to.

A huge problem I have with Norwegian movies is the acting. There is lot of over-acting. There is some of that in this one too. Kristoffer Joner is great, as he usually is. Noomi Rapace however, I think over-acted a little bit. At times, she was kind of...too dramatic. This goes for many of the other actors too. They are not that believable. But it's not that big a deal. If a movie is good, I can look past that.

Some times the movie felt more like a drama. Many times that mix can result in something great, but they didn't really pull it off here. I felt it slowed down the movie. It became plain boring at times.

One thing that struck my mind was how this movie reminded me of the Spanish horror/thriller "The Baby's room". I'm not accusing the creators of ripping it off, but I couldn't help seeing some similarities between the two. It wouldn't surprise me if it was a little inspired by it, but of course, it's two whole different plots. It was just some similar elements between the two.

Don't let me keep you from watching it. Norwegian movies are often better received outside the country than here in Norway. That's weird, but anyway, you might like it.
4 out of 9 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
A Nordic « dark water » without it (web)
leplatypus15 August 2013
Warning: Spoilers
In short, it's still about a single mother that arrives in a oppressive block apartment with her young child and they have to face paranormal events.

Well, first of all, Norway isn't NYC. It's bare, remote, close to nature and the few habitants have a big space to live. So as it's a bit empty, the oppression goes up. I say it's Norway and not Sweden as the school looks decrepit. This emptiness, poverty is omnipresent in the movie as the family gets into their apartment without anything. It's a sort of vacation (because during this time, we leave all our comfort, dressing, equipment,...) except, for them, everyday is like this. Thus, the scenes inside the apartment have a special appeal because they are really cut of everything. In addition, the block is austere, dead calm and it's hard to tell the difference from a hospital or a prison. If a lot of French live like this (it's social urbanism), I have never experienced this and in a way, i feel really attracted by that.

So, all the background was there for the break of paranormal. It's difficult to explain the story (a bit like "Lost Highway"), as I understand that 2 facts meet: the ghost of a abused child and the vision of the mother. It's hard to tell "the" reality from her "reality". As the movie gives clues at the end, you can enjoy a second watching.

The cast is excellent: the shy, supportive friend is totally accurate as I behaved the same when i got invited by a single mum living in a block: arrival with flowers and a gift for the kid (for my constant reader, we went also to a movie after and that's why my list of "Best Movie of the Year after my birth" ranks for 2006, "Ice Age 2" with my comment: "best seance ever").

As for Noomi, she proves once again that she is the definitive best actress nowadays. Unlike a lot of her pals, she isn't superficial, just a look (or a name) as you can feel her mind and feelings. She is also hard to catch as she can be as fragile as resilient, as dumb as resourceful and as cold as warm.

An excellent movie to recommend which is the perfect proof that movies talent can be found everywhere (and not only in America!) and that a good movie doesn't mean big money, big effects, big sequels,...
3 out of 6 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
A slow moving but disturbing movie that deals with child abuse. Leaves you wondering what is real or not. OK but slow. I say C+
Tony Heck20 July 2012
"How do you know your memories are real?" After finally leaving her abusive husband, Anna (Repace) and her eight year old son are taken to a secret apartment where he won't be able to find them. In order to help her sleep at night she buys a baby monitor to help her know what's going on in her son's room. One night she is awoken by the sounds of screaming coming from the monitor, but the sounds aren't from her son's room. She is left to wonder if it's her imagination or if the horror she is hearing is real. I was looking forward to this one for two reasons. It looked pretty creepy and I am becoming a fan of Rapace. Based off my expectations I have to say that I was a little disappointed. The movie was OK, but like most foreign movies it tends to drag quite a bit. The movie is very disturbing and really deals with child abuse in a way that most American movies tend to shy away from. I'm not trying to talk you out of watching this but just be prepared that the movie is pretty slow and shows child abuse in a very disturbing fashion. The entire movie does keep you guessing and on edge wondering what is real and what isn't. The ending does make you re-think about everything you saw and catches you by surprise. Overall, disturbing but OK. If you think you can handle it then watch it but nothing to rush out and see. I give it a C+.
4 out of 11 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
High Tension, Strange Ending
blumdeluxe19 June 2017
Warning: Spoilers
"The Monitor" tells the story of a mother and her son, who fled the violent father into a new identity. When the mother buys a baby phone for her son, she starts to become the witness of alarming dialogues between an adult man and a child, that don't seem to originate in her flat. More and more, the tides are turning against her and she faces some serious decisions.

The movie was beautifully produced. You can see that some time and effort have been spent on the atmosphere of the film, which is dark and slow and helps to create an environment in which you could imagine something serious happen every single moment. The general story does the rest to keep you watching and guessing what will happen next. The film keeps getting more mysterious the longer you watch. Unfortunately, the end kind of destroyed this one for me. If you really rethink everything that happened, there are just so many things that don't make any sense at all or are just blank unbelievable that for me it felt more like Fight Club gone wrong. That's sad because I still see a lot of potential within the story and I think that you could have done a lot more with it.

All in all this is a movie packed with tension. If you're not focused on the end but more on the way, this could be a movie you can have a lot of fun with actually.
0 out of 0 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
Reality or imagination? What if you know that you don't know?
berndporr18 February 2012
Warning: Spoilers
I saw this film at the Glasgow film festival today. Both screenings were sold out. Anna moves with the 8 year old son into a shabby apartment, having escaped from a violent husband. She is scared that he might find them but also scared of herself because she knows that she blends her troubled memory with the present. The film feels like a mix of "Dead Man's Shoes" and "Martha Marcy May Marlene". The former also has an "imaginary" brother whereas the latter deals with memory and present. While in "Martha Marcy May Marlene" the transition between imagination and present worked effortlessly, in Babycall it felt like a cheat to me. It felt just as a device to keep me confused right up to the end. Mainly because it's just filmed in a very plain way like in "Dead Man's shoes". I wish they had more visual ideas, for example in "Let's talk about Kevin" or in "Martha...". The ending I found pretty disappointing because it's basically the typical art-house dramatic curve -- namely going downhill. Death is always the easy way out whereas an open ending with two troubled people would have worked better.
3 out of 8 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
Daniel Elford13 December 2012
This has been on hold for a while, it would seem, as since this was made Noomi Rapace has become a name to follow, so this is well worth checking out for the sake of curiosity if nothing else. A great central performance and good intentions are not enough to save this film. It creates drama and tension, builds nicely and everything is very much like a classic Polanski, but when it starts to play its hand and get clever, it unfortunately ties itself up in knots and leaves you wonder what went wrong with the last act. I'm a big fan of Noomi Rapace and I don't doubt her for a second, and it must be said there is a lot of promise here, but sadly, by the end, it is little more than a good but failed effort.
2 out of 5 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
Almost makes the cut
ereinion2 June 2015
This disturbing drama-thriller is almost like a sequel to "Daisy Diamond", the Danish shocker from 2007. They both have Noomi Rapace in the leading role and she carries most of the film. She again plays an unstable single mother, but this time of a grown boy, not a baby girl. And the setting is kinda the same, the desolate and tall block apartment complex and the empty lane which she is constantly shown walking. They are meant to symbolize her own loneliness and alienation. And this is a hint to what ultimately is revealed as a great surprise in the end.

This is a typical Scandinavian/North European picture which focuses on the plight of single mothers who have been victims of their husbands' rage and physical abuse. Anna (Rapace) moves in to a new place, the big apartment block, after she and her little son have been victimized by her husband. She feels alone and a little afraid in their apartment. She at first makes her son sleep in the same bed as her, but as he soon gets tired of it, she buys a baby call device and puts it next to his bed so she can sleep assured nothing will happen to him without her hearing it. One night she hears loud screams that sound like they are coming from a boy. She rushes to his son's room but founds him sound asleep and nobody is there. She then goes to the trade center nearby where she got the device and talks with the salesman about it. He tells her that her own baby call must have picked up the signal from another baby call that is somewhere near her. This only makes her more anxious to find out whose baby call that may be and which child that makes such hair-raising noise in the middle of night. In the meantime, the salesman (played by Kristofer Joner), a single man who is just as lonely as she, develops an affection for her and tries to get closer to her. But it gets even worse for Anna as she has problems sleeping and finds herself waking up at the oddest places and starts to hallucinate of a place which doesn't exist.

The acting is very good by the two main actors, Rapace and Joner, who are both very believable and effective in their roles. Joner looks his part and Rapace looks her part. There is very little satisfaction to find in this film except for the suspense and dramatic performances. And the way it ends doesn't do much to amend that. In other words, it is a very dark, haunting and bleak picture which is meant to capture life at its cruelest. Almost the whole movie is like one big constant nightmare and there are a few elements of Polanski's apartment trilogy there obviously. The mother-child vs evil father or evil male entity which persecutes them is a familiar motif in such films. And as such the movie doesn't really break any new ground. It is just a passable dark drama, something along the lines of Dark Water, but there is nothing supernatural about it. I give it a 6. 6+
1 out of 2 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this

See also

Awards | FAQ | User Ratings | External Reviews | Metacritic Reviews