Hide and Seek

Starring: Robert De Niro, Dakota Fanning and Famke Janssen
20th Century Fox Home Entertainment
RRP: £15.99
Certificate: 15
Available 25 July 2005

Following his wife's apparent suicide psychologist David Callaway (Robert DeNiro) decides that the therapy that his daughter Emily (Dakota Fanning) is receiving is not working. He move himself and Emily to a secluded place in the country, but things soon take a turn for the worse when Emily makes friends with Charlie who seemingly only she can see, with her father becoming increasingly worried about Emily's sadistic and destructive behaviour time is running out to discover just who or what is Charlie...

What can one say about DeNiro's performance, he's the consummate professional, and whilst this may seem a little to lightweight of a project, I'm not gonna break his balls. He's turned in some of the greatest performances of any actor, so if he wants to pay the bills occasionally, who cares, he's still a delight to watch. His portrayal of the angst ridden father is spot on and if anything spoils it, it's the ending, but then the ending spoilt an otherwise good Saturday night fright flick. The real star of the show is Emily (Dakota Fanning).

Fanning is a delightful actress, who more than holds her own against DeNiro. More recently seen in War of the Worlds, playing Rachel, and previously in the 2002 mini series Taken, as Allie, this young woman has already amassed a body of work that wouldn't look bad for your average 35 year old. She portrays the ambiguity of her character to the hilt and it's well worth watching her performance a second time once you know the ending to appreciate just how good her portrayal is.

The mental ménage a trios is completed with the inclusion of Framke Jassen (Katherine), better known for her portrayal of Jean Grey in the X-Men films. She acts as a sounding board for the character of David; they have a well established relationship as he had previously been her mentor and she is a friend to Emily. Between the three main characters the true nature of Charlie is explored.

When David and Emily move to the country, David starts a relationship with Elizabeth (Elisabeth Shue). Initially portrayed as part of David's healing process, following the death of his wife. It is quickly evident that her inclusion really has more to do with the shifting of power away from David towards Emily. In the end David in almost supplication, has to ask Emily's permission to date Elizabeth, with tragic consequences.

The rest of the cast, and it's a small cast, provide the potential Charlie's, to David's mind. The loon neighbour and his rather odd wife, the strange fellow who David has rented the house from and last, but by no means least, Dylan Baker, who plays Sheriff Hafferty. Dylan is a great character actor and I can't think of a film that he has been in that I haven't enjoyed his performance.

As i mentioned previously, if the film has a fault it's in the ending. Following the reveal of who or what is Charlie the film suddenly goes into slow motion, dragging out the end way past its natural finishing point

The disc contains a plethora of extras for fans of the film. The movie comes with five different endings, if you count the theatrical version. Sound is 5.1 and 5.1 DTS, the DTS track is well worth a spin if you can play it, very creepy. There is the usual commentary by the director, editor and screenwriter; deleted scenes are interesting but you can see why they were deleted - it would have been nice to have the ability to watch the film with them included; there is a little promo on the making of, with the usual back slapping stuff and some previsualisations of scenes that never made it into the final cut.

The one thing that did annoy me about the disc was the amount of adverts that you need to wade through to get at the feature, though I'm not the best person to see this sort of stuff as I even turn the TV over when they are on. Please stick them in a trailers section so that the viewers have the choice.

So not a complete pot boiler, though the film contains nothing really original and the ending is naff, it's worth sticking your feet up on a Saturday night with a few beers, and wile away an hour and a half with the creepy David and Emily.

Charles Packer

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