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|Index||19 reviews in total|
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!
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.
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
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: Rabbit-Reviews.com - Only movies worth watching
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...
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.
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.
*** This review may contain 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.
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.
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 ...
*** This review may contain 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
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.
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