6.7/10
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119 user 54 critic

Panic (2000)

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Alex, a hit man, tries to get out of the family business, but his father won't let him do so. While seeking the help of a therapist, he meets a sexually charged 23-year-old woman with whom he falls in love.

Director:

Henry Bromell

Writer:

Henry Bromell
2 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
William H. Macy ... Alex
John Ritter ... Dr. Josh Parks
Neve Campbell ... Sarah Cassidy
Donald Sutherland ... Michael
Tracey Ullman ... Martha
Barbara Bain ... Deidre
David Dorfman ... Sammy
Tina Lifford ... Dr. Leavitt
Bix Barnaba Bix Barnaba ... Louie
Nicholle Tom ... Tracy
Thomas Curtis Thomas Curtis ... Alex - Age 7
Andrea Baker ... Candice (as Andrea Taylor)
Steven Moreno Steven Moreno ... Sean (as Steve Moreno)
Erica Ortega Erica Ortega ... Rachel
Greg Pitts ... Alex - Age 20
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Storyline

Alex, a sad-eyed mournful man, goes into psychotherapy: he discloses he's a hit man. He also tells the doctor, after a few sessions, that he's attracted to a young woman he's met in the waiting room. She's Sarah, 23, quick, edgy, and perhaps attracted to him as well. But he's married, the dutiful father of a young precocious boy, so Sarah brushes him off. In flashbacks we see him get his start as a killer, at his father's prompting: it's the family business. Dad gives Alex his next assignment: to kill the therapist. Alex keeps returning to Sarah, calling her, stopping by her apartment, as he decides what to do about the hit, his father, his marriage, and his malaise. Written by <jhailey@hotmail.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

A Story of Family, Lust, Murder ...and Other Midlife Crises

Genres:

Comedy | Crime | Drama

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for language and elements of violence | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

26 April 2001 (Singapore) See more »

Also Known As:

Pánico See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$1,000,000 (estimated)

Gross USA:

$779,137
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The Gregory Hines and Billy Crystal movie Alex and Martha discuss but can't remember the title of is Running Scared (1986) See more »

Quotes

Sammy: Dad... When can I get a Guitar?
Alex: When you've mastered the harmonica.
Sammy: When can I get an electric guitar?
Alex: When you've got your own house.
See more »

Connections

References Running Scared (1986) See more »

Soundtracks

Clouded
Written by Brian Tyler
Published by Tippecanoe Music Publishing
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User Reviews

 
Strikingly Realistic Character Study
29 June 2001 | by darkjoshSee all my reviews

Why Panic never got a good theatrical release is easily seen: it's much too smart, and audiences would have probably had a difficult time with it, comparing it to American Beauty in its probing of a midlife crisis, and Sopranos and Analyze This in it's study of illegal goings-on amidst family life. Though Panic may seem to derive from unoriginal material, Brommel's lifelike characters coupled with deft dialogue and observant direction make the film a realistic look at the undoing of a middle aged man.

William H. Macy stars as Alex, a hitman who works for his father's (Sutherland) contract-killing business. He leads a double life, with his wife (Ullman) and son unaware of his real trade. In his middle-age, he becomes increasingly disgusted with what he has done all his life. Under his calm, collected facade stirs repressed resentment for his father's controlling grasp on his life. When he meets a young woman(Campbell) he feels invigored and decides it's time to quit the family business.

The fact that writer/director Henry Brommel decided to make the profession his main character was trying to break away from contract-killing is disposable. He could have easily substituted it with any undesirable profession; his characters are so well-developed and believable, scenes handled so smoothly and realisticly and dialogue written so insightfully and naturally that the focus falls on Macy's conflicted character rather than his job as a hitman. Brommel's script feels like a Shakespearean tragedy, with a definite theme of destiny running throughout.

In Alex, Macy creates a tragic, easily sympathetic character, and turns in yet another brooding, great performance, as can always be expected. Donald Sutherland is also effectively abrasive and abusive as his overbearing father, and Ullman's dramatic turn as Macy's wife is a welcome change for the comedian. Consider a scene in a bicycle shop, where her mood subtly darkens and peaks in an affecting scene of emotional confusion.

Henry Brommel's first feature, Panic is a film that is well-crafted in its sincerity. With a first-rate cast, a plausible script, terse dialogue, and nice direction, this character-study is hopefully just a taste of Brommel's aptness for creating characters that seem real.

8 out of 10


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