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September 2008
MSITER FOE

by Kam Williams

MISTER FOE




Distributor: Magnolia Pictures
Director: David MacKenzie
Screenwriter: David MacKenzie
Cast: Jamie Bell, Ciarán Hinds, Sophia Myles, Claire Forlani, Ewen Bremner
Rating: R (for strong sexual content and language)


   




Teen Peeping Tom Acts Out in Dysfunctional Family Drama

17 year-old Hallam Foe (Jamie Bell) hasn’t been the same since his mother was found floating in a loch on the family’s sprawling estate. While her official cause of death was deemed suicide by sleeping pills, Hallam has good reason to suspect otherwise. After all, it was only a matter of months before his father, Julius (Ciaran Hinds), a famous architect, married his considerably young secretary, Verity (Claire Forlani).

Strangely, Hallam is as much physically attracted to his step-mom as he is repulsed by her because he’s convinced that she’s a murderer. These unresolved competing tensions gradually take a toll on his tortured soul, and result in his indulging a variety of perversions.

For instance, while alone in his room, he is likely to put on his birth mother’s favorite dress, and to smear her lipstick on his face or in circles around his nipples. And if he’s in a mood for socializing, he might drape a dead badger’s hide over his head and glide on a rope from his tree house and drop on top of an unsuspecting couple in the midst of lovemaking. But Hallam is also something of a voyeur whose M.O. involves binoculars and his secretly watching women in a state of undress after strategically scaling a roof or hiding in a the belfry of a clock tower.

Anyhow, Hallam realizes it’s time to leave town after his verbal confrontation of Verity turns carnal. Next thing you know, he’s trying to survive on the streets of Glasgow until he lands in the good graces of Kate (Sophia Myles), a young woman who bears a striking resemblance to his dearly-departed mum. The head of human resources for a big a hotel, she hires Hallam as a busboy who develops an Oedipal crush he feels conflicted about consummating.

This ambivalence gives the boy a good excuse to break out his binoculars, and he starts stalking his fresh prey in a slight variation on the theme he’d just escaped from back home. A kinky character study in a difficult to diagnose personality disorder which works because of the convincing performance of a brooding Jamie Bell in his most memorable outing since Billy Elliot.