Film review: Hallam Foe (2007), directed by David Mackenzie
Hallam (Jamie Bell) is a strange young Scotsman who enjoys spying on people from his treehouse. He’s convinced his stepmother Verity (Claire Forlani) was behind his mother’s death just a few short years previously, especially as she was his father’s (Ciarán Hinds) secretary or assistant or something like that, and very quickly came to replace the drowned mother.
Hallam’s sister leaves for uni and Hallam should move on too, so he moves to the big city: Edinburgh. There, he spots a woman, Kate (Sophia Myles), who looks eerily similar to his mother. He stalks her and gets a job at the same hotel and takes to spying on her in her apartment. Eventually, she finds out about it and it rolls on from there into some sort of stalkery, blackmaily might-have-been-a-murder mystery.
This is the sort of film I imagine professional critics nearly fall over themselves in their eagerness to praise. If you’re not completely weirded out, you’re not paying attention.
The atmosphere is gloomy, Hallam and his spying give me the creeps, his stepmum is a bitch, his boss is a disturbing git, and his father is a snob. Kate is a sweet girl. But it’s all so very, very weird.
Acting-wise, I thought it was very good. It’s just that I didn’t really take to the story, and I didn’t like the main character very much. Too much of a weirdo for my liking, as I’ve already stated. That Hallam is so taken by Kate because she looks so much like his drowned mother is fair enough, but when he takes to watching her (through a window) having sex, and then later on, wanting to sleep with her … it’s a liiiiittle bit too much, shall we say?
Entertainment value? Meh. It was too slow for that. As much as I love Ciarán Hinds, his character wasn’t exactly a great father and just … no. Hallam Foe is certainly not my kind of film. I mean, it’s not really bad or anything, it’s just that I wasn’t particularly keen on it, and kept wondering why I bothered recording it. There are more entertaining films to watch out there. But I bet the critics loved it.
2.9 out of 5 rooflights.