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The Monitor (Babycall) Reviews

Page 1 of 4
Carlos M

Super Reviewer

May 5, 2012
An absorbing, well-paced psychological thriller that never loses its grip, with an intriguing mystery that keeps us at the edge of our seat trying to figure out what is really going on - and Noomi Rapace is fantastic as the center of this sad, devastating story.
themoviewaffler.com
themoviewaffler.com

Super Reviewer

May 31, 2012
Noomi Rapace is brilliant in this Norwegian twist on "Rear Window". She's in a witness protection style program, on the run with her eight year old son from her abusive husband. Kristoffer Joner is likeable as the loner who befriends her. Sadly the movie ultimately suffers from a predictable Shyamalan style twist ending but director Pål Sletaune keeps it moving along nicely and it is quite involving. I certainly enjoyed it more than the over-rated "Girl With The Dragon Tattoo".
Ryan M
Ryan M

Super Reviewer

September 10, 2012
** out of ****

I always enjoy watching Noomi Rapace play new character on-screen. Her career has been going down some genuinely interesting roads ever since she portrayed the universally intriguing female half of Stieg Larrson's "Millennium Trilogy", Lisbeth Salander, and it's already become clear that she is a truly talented actress in that the one character does not become her. When you see Rapace in other movies, you don't see Lisbeth; or at least I don't. Rapace alone provoked me to watch the Norwegian psychological thriller "The Monitor" (also known as "Babycall"). As much as it provides another chance to see a good actress in action and as obviously inspired by the great masters of suspense such as Hitchcock and Polanski as it may be; "The Monitor" is nonetheless an unfortunate failure that repeatedly shoots itself right in the foot.

It gets off to a PRETTY good start. Anna (Rapace), a mother, and her eight-year old son Anders move to a new apartment after just barely escaping the boy's abusive father (and her former husband), who we learn attempted to drown Anders and even throw him out a window. Anna believes that they're safe for the time being, although she's still super-protective of Anders. So protective that she prefers that he sleeps in her bed, with her, and to the point where she buys a baby monitor so that no violent action committed towards the child while he's in his room goes unheard of. However, shortly after getting the monitor, other noises start coming from the other end. Noises that could not possibly be coming from Anders or his room for the matter.

What we hear could be interpreted as domestic violence amongst families, children, husbands, and wives. Distant, cold screams and muffled pleading. The scenes where Anna listens in on these unseen but not unheard of tragedies are truly unnerving. Anders starts attending school again, makes a new friend, and instantly starts acting out in various ways (such as pinning a photograph of his father on his bedroom wall). Anna starts to think she's going around the bend. Her world is changing around her. The lake that she thought was close by to the apartment complex appears and reappears as it pleases. She witnesses bodies being lifted into trucks in the parking garage.

This really could have been an interesting film about child abuse and the line that is blurred between hallucinatory dream and reality, but instead it comes off as a rather wasted opportunity. The pacing starts out alright, but then the whole thing just gets needlessly absurd and doesn't let up in that department. By the end, it's just become unbelievable. But along the way, the film just keeps throwing in needless characters - such as an electronics store clerk who sells Anna the monitor and is supposed to bring a romantic dynamic to the story - and situations. Director Pal Sletaune obviously expresses an interest in the true artistry involved in creating suspense; but his efforts are unsuccessful as his film might as well mirror your average dumb, absurd Hollywood thriller, only slightly smarter.

And at that, we are back to Rapace. She has this essence of maturity to her technique that instantly makes her more engaging to watch than most actresses that would be caught dead in this kind of film. I admire that she's branching out and her performance here was certainly a lot of fun to watch in spite of her desire to be as un-emotive as possible most of the time (although who can really blame her). The other actors are average but satisfying. Too bad the movie itself is not. Cold and unbelievable; "The Monitor" doesn't make the cut but is inoffensive given its content and its quality. What you've got is something that is competently crafted, but not nearly enough to engage even the most patient of viewers. What's the point of building so much dread if you can't support it with a solid story and characters? The answer is, there is no point; and there might as well be none to this film's existence either.
March 31, 2014
I thought that it was a great story, Although I was a bit confusing in some places. But all in all this was another amazing performance by Noomi Rapace.
January 16, 2014
The intensity of Noomi Rapace's performance lingers and haunts.
October 5, 2013
An excellent scandinavian film. Two thumbs up.
June 19, 2013
Flawed, but well-acted and convincing. While 1 and 1 doesn't always add up to two, it's still worth watching.
May 16, 2013
still twisting my mind after hours watching it, Rapace delivers he rare talents, she kept me at the edge of my seat trying to figure out what's in her head, although this isn't a horror film, i am genuinely scared!
February 7, 2013
Genuinely scary - both on a suspenseful and on a sociological level.
Nukleopatra
January 12, 2013
More thriller than horror, and a twist we've seen before, but it still kept me wondering.
December 11, 2012
Terrific central performance and good intentions aren't enough to save this film. A nice build of tension and creepiness, but unfortunatley, when it attempts to play its hand, it ties itself up in knots.
October 5, 2012
I admit it. I will watch any film with Noomi Rapace in it regardless of what it is.
That being said, looking forward to seeing this!
October 2, 2012
I love Noomi Rapace. Nice thriller, with a clever twist, but the twist has been done before.
May 23, 2012
wow, I mean holy
Noomi Rapace gives one of her early best performances in this drama/thriller
a mother who just wants to love and take care of her son gets caught up in her own dilemmas
the pressures of motherhood, being a single parent, raising a child, and coping with her sense of isolation is probably what all parents feel at a certain point in their lives
the film has wonderful cinematography, unsettling music, clever editing, and the twist at the end totally caught me by surprise, I wasn't ready for something like that
also it isn't so much about Rapace's character listening on a baby monitor as it is about her fighting to keep her parenting skills at a consistent level
her emotional and psychological sides are a force to be reckoned with, too
it's another foreign language film that does its job quite strikingly
September 13, 2012
Noomi Rapace again great.
September 12, 2012
Rapace and the rest of the cast do a great job, but the film leaves you with a very bad taste in your mouth, while the last hour is predictable. This movie had potential to be great, but got too caught up trying to be something more than what it should have been. Too many subplots were tried to by tied in, and very few of them gave any closure. The ending leaves you with too many questions, only some of which are answered (half-assedly). The movie isnt 'bad', but it's disappointing to know that it could have been so much better if they would have gone by the "less is more" concept.
Ryan M
Ryan M

Super Reviewer

September 10, 2012
** out of ****

I always enjoy watching Noomi Rapace play new character on-screen. Her career has been going down some genuinely interesting roads ever since she portrayed the universally intriguing female half of Stieg Larrson's "Millennium Trilogy", Lisbeth Salander, and it's already become clear that she is a truly talented actress in that the one character does not become her. When you see Rapace in other movies, you don't see Lisbeth; or at least I don't. Rapace alone provoked me to watch the Norwegian psychological thriller "The Monitor" (also known as "Babycall"). As much as it provides another chance to see a good actress in action and as obviously inspired by the great masters of suspense such as Hitchcock and Polanski as it may be; "The Monitor" is nonetheless an unfortunate failure that repeatedly shoots itself right in the foot.

It gets off to a PRETTY good start. Anna (Rapace), a mother, and her eight-year old son Anders move to a new apartment after just barely escaping the boy's abusive father (and her former husband), who we learn attempted to drown Anders and even throw him out a window. Anna believes that they're safe for the time being, although she's still super-protective of Anders. So protective that she prefers that he sleeps in her bed, with her, and to the point where she buys a baby monitor so that no violent action committed towards the child while he's in his room goes unheard of. However, shortly after getting the monitor, other noises start coming from the other end. Noises that could not possibly be coming from Anders or his room for the matter.

What we hear could be interpreted as domestic violence amongst families, children, husbands, and wives. Distant, cold screams and muffled pleading. The scenes where Anna listens in on these unseen but not unheard of tragedies are truly unnerving. Anders starts attending school again, makes a new friend, and instantly starts acting out in various ways (such as pinning a photograph of his father on his bedroom wall). Anna starts to think she's going around the bend. Her world is changing around her. The lake that she thought was close by to the apartment complex appears and reappears as it pleases. She witnesses bodies being lifted into trucks in the parking garage.

This really could have been an interesting film about child abuse and the line that is blurred between hallucinatory dream and reality, but instead it comes off as a rather wasted opportunity. The pacing starts out alright, but then the whole thing just gets needlessly absurd and doesn't let up in that department. By the end, it's just become unbelievable. But along the way, the film just keeps throwing in needless characters - such as an electronics store clerk who sells Anna the monitor and is supposed to bring a romantic dynamic to the story - and situations. Director Pal Sletaune obviously expresses an interest in the true artistry involved in creating suspense; but his efforts are unsuccessful as his film might as well mirror your average dumb, absurd Hollywood thriller, only slightly smarter.

And at that, we are back to Rapace. She has this essence of maturity to her technique that instantly makes her more engaging to watch than most actresses that would be caught dead in this kind of film. I admire that she's branching out and her performance here was certainly a lot of fun to watch in spite of her desire to be as un-emotive as possible most of the time (although who can really blame her). The other actors are average but satisfying. Too bad the movie itself is not. Cold and unbelievable; "The Monitor" doesn't make the cut but is inoffensive given its content and its quality. What you've got is something that is competently crafted, but not nearly enough to engage even the most patient of viewers. What's the point of building so much dread if you can't support it with a solid story and characters? The answer is, there is no point; and there might as well be none to this film's existence either.
March 13, 2012
Somewhat too twisty for its own good, this Thriller still boasts a great central performance from Noomi Repace and oodles of bleak atmosphere.
July 31, 2012
The Monitor (or Babycall) is dull, with nothing exciting happening at all, not one scary moment, no suspense, nothing! The only reason I'm giving this a higher grade is because of Noomi Rapace. But, this movie, I understood it, the ending just was jumbled and felt untamed and not finished.
July 30, 2012
Not as good as I expected it to be, since Noomi is a KICK ARSE Lisbeth Salander....but not completely unwatchable either.
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