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Number of Reviews on MG: 1523
Hide and Seek
2005 - R - 105 Mins.
Director: John Polson
Producer: Barry Josephson
Written By: Ari Schlossberg
Starring: Robert De Niro, Dakota Fanning, Famke Janssen, Elisabeth Shue
Review by: Joe Rickey
Official Site: www.hideandseekthemovie.com/home.html
   

Yes, I am a better actor than you!
Although it suffers from an all too familiar denouement, ‘Hide and Seek’ is worth, for lack of a better word, seeking out.

Finally, a thriller that isn’t dumbed-down and otherwise censored in order to garner a PG-13 rating. Sure, a story of a father and daughter struggling to cope with the death of a loved one doesn’t sound all that original -- even when the idea of an imaginary friend is introduced. The film does not deviate much from the “Domestic Thriller” template set forth decades ago. Yeah, in spite of the aforementioned tinge of familiarity, the film is a successful sophomore effort from director John Polson (2002’s ‘Swimfan’) because the acting is simply superb and Polson generates an ample amount of tension.

With each new role, 11-year-old Dakota Fanning continues to impress me more and more. From her eye-opening performance as the precocious Lucy Diamond Dawson in ‘I Am Sam’ to this film, she consistently gives multi-layered performances that actors decades older are fuming with jealousy because a “kid” has more talent than they do. Here, she takes the clichéd persona of a troubled girl who becomes creepy and possibly psychotic and turns it into something more. A droll, almost monotone line delivery coupled with stilted mannerisms position her character not unlike a mannequin you would see in the window of a department store. The effect is one that leaves the viewer constantly on edge. We wait with fretful anticipation at her every action.

As her on-screen father, Robert De Niro also gives a good performance but still manages to be outshined by Fanning. As the film progresses, the actor’s characteristic tendencies (at least they seem as much because of their presence in many of his performances) to overact and either whisper or shout his lines (with him, there is often no middle ground) begin to take over from what had been a quietly modulated performance up to that point.

Australian director John Polson’s debut studio effort (he had also done a few low budget films), the ‘Fatal Attraction’ esque ‘Swimfan’ will never be considered a great example of a thriller (it’s good for those who aren’t too nitpicky with regards to plausibility and predictability), there is no denying that Polson wrung all the tension he could from the labored scenario. The same could be said for ‘Hide and Seek.’ Through the use timely musical cues and claustrophobic camera angles that take full advantage of the secluded country setting, Polson has fashioned a thriller that excels at stringing the viewer along like a cat toys with a mouse before springing in for the kill.

One can almost hear director John Polson thanking Fox executives for lessening their restrictions on him in the form of an R rating. One also imagines him thanking the movie gods for the stellar cast handed to him as Dakota Fanning and Robert De Niro make the old seem new and at least somewhat refreshing with ‘Hide and Seek.’
 
Movie Guru Rating
Entertaining and well crafted.  May not be worth the price of a theater ticket, but a solid rental. Entertaining and well crafted.  May not be worth the price of a theater ticket, but a solid rental. Entertaining and well crafted.  May not be worth the price of a theater ticket, but a solid rental. Entertaining and well crafted.  May not be worth the price of a theater ticket, but a solid rental.
  3.5 out of 5 stars

 
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