Alone With Her
In the modern age,
voyeurism is easy. There are webcams, the internet, industrial mikes
and spy equipment that the most sophisticated spy could only dream of a
couple of decades ago -- all easily attainable and surprisingly cheap.
The world sometimes seems
to be at a weird tipping point where people are more and more becoming
watchers rather than doers. Why go out and meet people when you can do
it anonymously in chat rooms?
There is a very dark side
to this. When there are cameras recording your every move, whether in
a bank or a store or on the street -- can we expect any privacy? Who
is watching us at any given moment? There are more than you know and
much more than you'd be comfortable with.
Alone With Her is a
dark cautionary tale about these mindsets. It is a stalker film from
the mind of a stalker. Not only do we see his point-of-view... we only
see what he sees. The entirety of the film is taped on video
surveillance equipment (or, at the very least, it is filmed to seem so.)
This seems almost like a
stunt at first, much like the hand-held cameras of Blair Witch Project
several years ago. However what at first seems like it will become
cloying turns out to be strangely seductive. The viewer gets a weird
voyeuristic thrill in watching it all unfold, plus a queasy unsettled
feeling that we know more than we should -- more than the woman who is being
watched does -- and yet have no way of warning her. We become oddly
This movie is essentially a
two person piece (well okay, there is one significant supporting role) and
the acting is pretty amazing.
The stalker is played Colin
Hanks. With this film, Orange County and King Kong, he has already shown
range like his famous acting dad Tom. The role is a tricky one to pull
off -- by necessity with the film's format, he is off-screen much of the
time. Often we only hear his reactions. Then, when he does make
appearances it becomes startling, we see him acting to her and acting
towards us. We know he is depraved but he is trying so hard to project
a normal veneer that we watch the cracks in his stories appearing with
Ana Claudia Talancon is his
prey -- a beautiful Latina who is just getting over a break-up when this guy
starts appearing in her life. She does not know that he has been
filming her with a video cam and soon has fully wired her apartment. To her, the guy is
just a nice-if-slightly-awkward person. (The one possible quibble I
have with the storyline is that she is the one who breaks the ice with him
-- more than once.) Still, she also has an early uneasy feeling about
the guy, one she finds easier and easier to overlook.
He uses what he learns from
his surveillance to woo her, sharing favorite bands and movies and
interests. Soon they have become friends, but of course with a beauty
like her, other guys start circling -- a development that disturbs him and
causes his actions to become more and more desperate. In the meantime, her best friend (Jordana Spiro) is starting to have suspicions about
this odd guy who has wormed his way into her life.
Alone With Her has
no easy answers to the problem of our increased lack of privacy. It
just offers a cautionary tale and comes out with a surprisingly disturbing
Alone With Her is
also at the forefront of a new release strategy. Within days of its
New York theatrical release, it will be available pay-per-view on Video on
Demand. (This plan is not quite as radical as Steven Soderburgh's
Bubble, which was released in theaters, on video and pay-per-view the
same week.) It's a good way to get a small film that may fly under the
radar out to people, but Alone With Her is still worthy of a wider
theatrical release as well. Hopefully, it will get that chance.
Copyright ©2007 PopEntertainment.com. All rights reserved.
Posted: January 9, 2007.