"Who is Hallam Foe?"
Hallam's talent for spying on people reveals his darkest fears-and his most peculiar desires. Driven to expose the true cause of his mother's death, he instead finds himself searching the rooftops of the city for love.
Hallam Foe is another dark film about buried pain and insecurities, much like director David Mackenzie's Young Adam. Mackenzie is also responsible for the crackling screenplay adapted from the novel by Peter Jinks, the story of a young lad named Hallam (Jamie Bell) damaged by his mother's death to the point where he separates himself from the world by living in a tree house, observing his father (Ciarán Hinds) in his too rapid replacement of Hallam's mother with the dangerous Verity (Claire Forlani). A bizarre 17-year-old, Hallam attacks his fears and the world dressed in a manner of beast like costumes, all to assuage his grief for his mother's death. When Verity's behavior drives Hallam from his elegant home, he retreats to Edinburgh, becoming a boy of the streets. One day he spies a woman named Kate (Sophia Myles) who greatly resembles his dead mother and he begins stalking her, spying on her in every conceivable way until he convinces her to hire him in her hotel as a kitchen porter. Proximity feeds obsession and Hallam discovers that Kate is having an affair with a married hotel executive, the result of which is a clash with reality, and Hallam must confront his Oedipal desires with his coming to grips with the reality of his grief for this deceased mother. The discovery he makes with Kate transfers to his relationship with his own family and opens doors for growth rather than maintaining his jail- like mental anguish.
The story is bizarre and very dark at times, but the performance by Jamie Bell, well accompanied by those of Hinds, Forlani, Myles et al, make this tale of coming of age fascinating. The art direction (Caroline Grebbell), cinematography (Giles Nuttgens) and musical score (as concocted by Matt Biffa from performers such as Future Pilot A.K.A.) enhance the production - maintaining the high standards set by Mackenzie. Hallam is a lad we grow to love despite his kooky behavior: few other actors could inhabit this role with the élan of the considerably talented Jamie Bell. Recommended.