Lively, entertaining reviews of, and essays on, old and newer films and everything relating to them, written by professional author William Schoell.

Thursday, May 7, 2009


HIDE AND SEEK. (2005). Director: John Polson. Screenplay: Ari Schlossberg.

After his wife commits suicide, Robert De Niro takes his young daughter (Dakota Fanning) to a new home in the country where she seems to be beset by figurative or literal demons. She has an imaginary friend named Charlie who's soon up to some dirty tricks – or is he imaginary? The picture holds the attention but doesn't really become gripping or suspenseful until it's nearly over, when the mystery over who and what “Charlie” is and who he'll kill next, begins to give you the willies – and then – the mystery is solved practically the next moment and what results is a prosaic chase. [I won't spoil the film by revealing the revelation; let's just say it's been done before – over and over and over again.] Hide and Seek is well-directed, has a couple of tense moments, and is very well acted by De Niro and Fanning, although the girl's character is perhaps a little too creepy for her to be entirely sympathetic. Amy Irving is written off at the beginning, and Elisabeth (Leaving Las Vegas) Shue has virtually nothing to do as De Niro's friend. Famke Janssen gets a little more screen time as his colleague and former pupil.

Verdict: Okay, but nothing special. **.

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