Reviews

The Night Listener

3

Stately and heavy-going, you can’t fault Patrick Stettner’s psychological thriller for murky atmosphere. Insomnia and One Hour Photo proved Robin Williams could dial down the manic and up the brooding to 11 and it’s a trick he repeats here as late-night radio host/writer Gabriel. Playing layered games that ask questions about perception and illusion, the narrative swan-dives Gabriel into a search for abused teen writer Pete (Rory Culkin). Is his story true? Does he even exist? And what role does his creepy adopted mom Donna (Toni Collette) play in it all?

Trouble is, there’s never quite enough real narrative oomph to push the film along. At 81 minutes it still drags and with barely any extras to distract you, it’s hard to shake the sensation that you’re the one being deceived here. Peel away the moody cinematography, creepy music and understated performances and you’re left with a story that, though initially engrossing, runs out of steam an hour in.

 

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