Cry of the Owl - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Cry of the Owl Reviews

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Super Reviewer
½ November 28, 2010
I liked parts of this movie - especially when Jenny turns the table on Robert and starts stalking him. I had no problems with the plot until the final scene which dropped my rating by a full star.

Still if you like dark non-mainstream movies, this is one you should watch.
Super Reviewer
½ August 28, 2010
Waste of a very good novel, in almost every way, except the interpretation of the lighting. Chabrol's version was a failure with many ingenious shots, and maybe one of the great final shots. The script here is even worse than Chabrol's was, though it attempts to amplify the theme of mortality that haunted everything else in the book. The screenplay puts in dialogue and incidents to add contemporary flavor -- to a narrative from 1962 that could have just as easily been from 1992 --- and these feel like distracting, hackish touches.

One of the novel's strengths was that no character was ever definite, even the protagonist, and here the characters are given "arcs" and drained of ambiguity, even the manaical ex-wife, who starts out promising. The relationship between the two main characters is much more determined, and its significance more obvious to the protagonist than it was in the book. They have a first encounter that sounds like it was written for a playwrighting class. And then James Thraves, the writer-director, overplays the fact of the girl's pseudo-stalking because it's a story concept we haven't seen before.

Paddy Considine was a poor choice for the protagonist, as was beginning to draw him like a Gen-X schmiel. Julia Stiles more plausibly looked the part in the novel, but she is under-rehearsed or directed. The supporting characters all seem cardboard and allowed to say their lines like filler as long as they sound Canadian.

This is a script that doesn't demand enough of the actors, so they're left clueless about how much to give to make their characters interesting between the lines. Thraves runs away from the challenge of portraying the ex-wife and the ex-boyfriend as they unveil truer parts of themselves and become like feral animals in a zoo or devils in a nightmare. The unsolicited entropy these two incarnate is, in the book, agonizing and a kind of sublime terribleness. Chabrol tried to show it, since it was a main hook for readers, and started OK by getting the casting of the wife and boyfriend right. This movie avoids risk while adapting a novel that must have appealed to the filmmakers because it didn't care about seeming familiar as a thriller.
Super Reviewer
December 17, 2009
CAST: Paddy Considine, Julia Stiles, James Gilbert, Caroline Dhavernas, Gourd Rand

DIRECTED BY: Jamie Thraves

SUMMARY: After leaving the city for a quiet life in the country, depressed Robert (Paddy Considine) begins spying on a lovely neighbor, Jenny (Julia Stiles), who may be more dangerous than she seems in this unsettling thriller based on a Patricia Highsmith novel. Surprisingly kind to her stalker, Jenny ingratiates herself into his life and Robert falls for her, angering her volatile boyfriend (James Gilbert) and provoking violent consequences.

MY THOUGHTS: "I'm betting that the book is much better, cause honestly the film was a bit boring. Don't get me wrong, it was a decent psychological thriller, just dragged a bit in some places. I was a bit confused if Robert really did commit the crime or not. He seemed harmless enough, besides being a peeping tom. But then you see him lose it a couple times and it makes you wonder if that's the twist. I won't say whether it is or not. But in the end it turned out to be a good rental. Julia Stiles was good in this. Good seeing her play in something more dark. Her character was a bit crazy. I mean, who invites their peeping tom in for a cup of coffee and a cookie.. So right then and there you kinda get she's a bit 'off her rocker' as they say. But pretty fast Roberts, innocent window peeking turns quickly into the worse mistake he ever made. Not sure how I feel about the ending. It was OK, but just not fulfilling. But give it a watch, it's worth the rental."
Super Reviewer
½ April 6, 2011
During his divorce proceedings with Nickie(Caroline Dhavernas), Robert Forrester(Paddy Considine) is trying to start over at a new job at an aerospace company. After work one day, Greg(James Gilbert) bums some money off of him for a present for his girlfriend Jenny(Julia Stiles). With an equal mix of creepiness and curiosity, Robert plays Peeping Tom outside of her house until she spots him and invites him inside. The two quickly become friends. So much so, that Jenny dumps Greg and invites Robert hiking with some friends of hers.

"Cry of the Owl" wants to desperately be a dark and offbeat film about the relationship between two damaged people but only gets about halfway there. A lot of that has to do with the performances of the leads. Paddy Considine, again proving he can do little wrong, hits the right notes playing a man uncomfortable in his own skin and whose timing is always off. And if only I could say the same thing about Julia Stiles who brings out little depth in her performance of an otherwise intriguing character. So, maybe it would have been better if she had switched roles with Caroline Dhavernas. Admittedly, that still would not have made up for the story's flaws or the failure to adequately recreate small town atmosphere.
Super Reviewer
April 26, 2011
Actually kind of intriguing. The feeling of dread builds nicely throughout. I think this could make an interesting play.
Super Reviewer
½ July 24, 2010
At start I thought this movie seemed very interesting but I gradually god mor and more bored. The thing that kept me watching this movie were the strange twists and surprises. The thing I loved most about this movie was Julia Stiles, she really performed well. Other than that the movie was very dark and mystique.
Super Reviewer
½ March 29, 2009
Based on the novel by Patricia Highsmith "Cry of the Owl" is the story of a troubled young man, Robert, who leaves the big city and his ex-wife for the tranquility of a small town. He finds respite from his problems by secretly watching the normal domestic life of a woman he doesn't know through her kitchen window. But when Jenny catches Robert in the act, she doesn't call the police. Instead she feels a strange empathy for Robert and invites him into her home. Robert is drawn into a relationship with Jenny, which has consequences when her boyfriend Greg finds out. Immediately suspicious of Robert, Greg makes it his mission to destroy him. But when a fight leaves Greg unconscious and missing, Robert discovers he is the number one suspect in a murder case that is slowly beginning to look like the ultimate set-up.

great acting and suspence,
the end is kinda confusing, but overall an ok film, not bad.
November 3, 2012
This starts off really interesting, and then just gets monotonous for the last half hour or so. I love Julia Stiles and the overall premise is interesting, but there comes a point where you just want it to be over.
June 14, 2012
this movie was average it could of been better The ending left me wondering what was going to happen, the acting was good but the story-line wasn't that intense or thrilling to me. except for one scene that involves a dog licking blood.
½ May 13, 2012
It does have some good scenes and suspenseful moments, but it just gets a little too much as it progresses.
½ April 27, 2012
I didn't like the lead actor in this. I found he was extremely unlikeable. The movie was alright. It wasn't painful to watch or anything. Weird sense of humor. One word to describe this movie: Bizarre.
February 23, 2012
i know i've said this b4 but i love 2 watch something i know nothing about like this murder mystery from the lady who wrote 'the talented mr. ripley"
Super Reviewer
July 31, 2011
this movie was average it could of been better The ending left me wondering what was going to happen, the acting was good but the story-line wasn't that intense or thrilling to me. except for one scene that involves a dog licking blood.
½ June 25, 2010
Paddy Considine and Julia Stiles are quite good in this far fetched thriller. It does have some good scenes and suspenseful moments, but it just gets a little too much as it progresses. The score is good, some of the cinematography, particularly the night scenes, is good. Not too bad, but could have been better if it kept the story a little more convincing.
½ June 20, 2010
Overall the movie was ok. What I really did not like was the ending. So for me the ending really ruined the movie for me.
July 26, 2015
Im not sure why this has such terrible reviews? I actually quite enjoyed it. It is an odd film and I think it could have been better... there was a lot that could've been done with this material but I think this interpretation misses the mark quite a lot. However it does have great atmosphere and is gripping. Relentlessly depressing though... and it feels like beyond pure ambiance there was supposed to be some sort of point that isn't expressed well enough for the audience to 'get'... ive not read the book so im not sure but I assume something of the novel has been lost.
April 15, 2012
I am enjoying this thoroughly awful movie!
½ February 7, 2012
Another film that will blow your mind and not in a good way.
½ December 16, 2011
Moderately diverting.
I liked the part where Considine fights with the boyfriend, who then goes missing.
It looks like the bf committed suicide in the river and I thought, "My god, how can this not look like murder?"
Interesting scenario, maybe more could have been done with it.
A curious little flight of fancy; worthy of the journey, if a little dark.
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