Cry of the Owl Reviews
Still if you like dark non-mainstream movies, this is one you should watch.
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.
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."
"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.
great acting and suspence,
the end is kinda confusing, but overall an ok film, not bad.
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.