Mister Foe a tight, Hitchcockian ride
|Mister Foe a tight, Hitchcockian ride|
by Scott Rice -
SGN Contributing Writer
Take a teen angst movie, add a bit of de Palma and a large dose of Hitchcock, then stir in some Phantom of the Opera and set it in Scotland, and what do you get? You get Mister Foe, the new film from David Mackenzie (Young Adam and Asylum) based on the novel Hallam Foe by Peter Jinks.
Jamie Bell of Billy Elliot fame is all grown up & well, almost. Bell plays the title character, a 17-year-old living on his father's estate in the Scottish Highlands, lamenting the death of his mother, and developing a creepy predilection for spying on people.
Foe is at odds with his beautiful stepmother Verity (Claire Forlani), whom he thinks might have offed his mother in order to get her hands on his father and the Highlands estate. After a confrontation between the two of them that ends with quite a twist, Foe runs off to Edinburgh to scamper around the rooftops and, yes, continue to sharpen his voyeuristic skills.
In Edinburgh, Foe chances upon a woman who bears an uncanny resemblance to his dead mother (it is delightfully and expertly Hitchcockian). They develop a friendship that exposes them both as damaged goods. Watching all these dark threads come together is great, great fun. The writing and pacing is spot-on and surprises just keep coming.
Bell has definitely come into his own as an actor. He's in almost every scene and brings star-quality charisma to every one of them. The camera loves him, and he seems to be having a grand time.
The rest of the cast is terrific as well, especially Sophia Myles as Kate Breck, the doppelganger to Foe's dead mummy, and Maurice Roeves (Raymond) in a scene-stealing small role.
The film looks beautiful, whether showing off the lovely Scottish countryside in the early going or in later scenes on the spooky Edinburgh rooftops. Foe, in his grief and post-adolescent confusion, enters another world amid the rainy cityscape and his dusty tower hideout, and we get to go along on this journey largely through the excellent cinematography.
Another thing to like about Mister Foe is the soundtrack. The music is amazing and includes songs from Franz Ferdinand, Sons and Daughters, and Orange Juice.
I try not to get too excited when writing about a movie I love. I'm going to refrain from the tired superlative, "The best movie of the year!" However, you need to check this one out; it is brilliant storytelling and technically sophisticated filmmaking with a couple of fun allusions to some great filmmakers and films.