The Night Listener (2006)
USA / English
"You never know who's listening. "In the midst of his crumbling relationship, a radio show host begins speaking to his biggest fan, a young boy, via the telephone. But when questions about the boy's identity come up, the host's life is thrown into chaos.
Really Good Stuff
When it comes to movies I can be pretty picky, and I'll complain about
anything and everything that is done wrong. While every movie has its
flaws, The Night Listener had an exceptionally low count.
If you read the last review (it was hard, since half of it was written
in caps and it contained no actual information about the movie), you
may have been led to believe that this movie was not too well done.
Unfortunately, if you read more than 3 lines into that same review, you
discovered the poster's reason for disdain: he/she does not like the
fact that the director is gay (or that the production team smokes
So, despite the fact that I have never written a review before, I
thought this movie deserved one based on its merits, not the sexual
orientation of its director. Let's go over a quick checklist first: 1.
Great plot? Absolutely. I won't give a shred of it away, but the plot
is highly compelling and definitely not what one would expect based on
the commercials. This is a thriller, not a horror, and it should be
approached as such. The story really will amaze you, even more so
because it's true (and the plot did stay quite faithful to the actual
2. Wonderful Acting? Oh Yes. Robin Williams long ago broke free from
the chains of the comedy type-cast, and he has since flourished in
serious roles for which many people would have wrote him off just a
decade ago. He once again achieves high form in his role in The Night
Listener, playing a radio host who becomes increasingly troubled by and
entangled in a case of...well, I'll let you see for yourself.
3. Excellent direction? Certainly. Now, unlike the other poster to
which I referred, I actually know something about direction. I've been
sutdying the art of direction at school now for 3 years. Of course I
really don't think that makes a lick of difference (the only thing that
matters is if YOU like the direction), but I thought I should simply
establish once again that I'm basing my opinions here on something both
substantial and relevant...for example: not the sexual orientation of
the director (or the alleged drug habits of the production team, LOL).
Patrick Stettner's direction was moody and dark, and he allowed the
angles and lighting to help create those so-sought-after feelings of
"tension and release" rather than the messy, fast-paced camera-work and
quick cuts we're so often subjected to today. Some people can truly
show you a story through their camera, while other's feel as if they
have to make the story with the camera. I really appreciate when
someone these days has the courage to just use the camera as its
supposed to be utilized, which is as an eyeball through which we all
4. Lighting, cinematography, and editing? Great all around. I've
already wrote so much, and I could go on about these last three things
for another ten paragraphs, so I'll just wrap it up.
In short, go see this movie. Don't listen to people who have alterior
motives for trashing it, especially if they're so stupid that they
unknowingly reveal that motive 1/4 of the way through their post. Enjoy
the show! -Ben
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