Alone with Her
2007
Coffee shop waitress Amy has a secret admirer -- but she doesn't know it. Or him. He knows her, though, thanks to the electronic surveillance equipment he uses to film her, first from afar and then at much closer range.

Scott Hardie: “It ruled.”

In the land of cinematic gimmicks, recording an entire feature on hidden cameras sounds dangerous: Actors disappearing off camera or out of focus, poor film quality, boring camerawork. But Alone with Her succeeds very well in spite of its limitations: By sticking to four distinct camera looks (including a pretty cool simulated nightvision), cheating by filming in high definition, and placing the many individual cameras very carefully, the film never gets boring visually. For a second you wonder why it even credits Nathan Wilson as director of photography, before you realize just how damn good of a job he did.

The film also earns unexpected points for being so expressly opposed to stalking, which it pretty much has to be if it wants to avoid the "torture porn" niche for which it seems tailor-made. The DVD offers safety information for potential victims, and in his commentary, the director keeps returning to the invasiveness and repulsiveness of the crime and how it strikes unwitting victims. Of course, the movie itself isn't really about stalking, per se – it's about taking us across a range of emotions as we're forced to watch such an act. There's guilt at the voyeurism, then disgust at the criminal, then sympathy for the victim, then indignation when she spurns him, then excitement when he gets the upper hand, then horror at what he does with it, and more. Depending on your disposition in life, you might be unable to identify with one character or the other, but the film does its best to invoke a variety of feelings.

The film stars a pair of lead actors who deserve to build good careers. Talancón maintains her naturalism in spite of so many unusual filming situations, and creates a simple woman who is as fascinating just to watch as she should be. Hanks doesn't look much like his famous father, but he does have the same ordinariness and easy charm that makes him believeable as the nice (if slightly weird) guy next door. The film risks breaking its naturalism in a few places, where the lines sound too scripted or the moment too plotted, but those are minor blemishes. This is a stirring, very well-made thriller that keeps making the right choices.

− October 25, 2007 • more by Scottlog in or create an account to reply

Aaron Shurtleff: I saw this movie as well, and I have to agree with Scott's analysis. I enjoyed this movie, and I found it very thought-provoking. I hadn't really ever thought about this kind of stalking (and why would someone?), and this movie just blew me away! Awesome! − October 25, 2007 • more by Aaron

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