ShareThis Page
Predictability takes the fun out of ‘Hide and Seek’ |

Predictability takes the fun out of ‘Hide and Seek’

| Friday, January 28, 2005 12:00 a.m

Because it holds attention throughout, I wish I could report more favorably on “Hide and Seek,” another descendant in “The Sixth Sense’s” burgeoning family tree.

It’s a mystery of sorts that people functioning above the neck can get into. But it misses nary a cliche of an abused genre.

In the New York apartment of psychologist David Callaway (Robert De Niro), wife Alison (Amy Irving, too seldom visible lately) playfully puts to bed their daughter Emily (Dakota Fanning).

The scene plays with a candied bliss that guarantees either Mommy is about to be off’d or the child stolen.

Cut to a shot of Mommy in a bloody bathtub lighted by several candles.

Once again, Hollywood reminds me I’m the last person extant whose bathroom isn’t illuminated by countless candles.

When neither Daddy nor fellow psychologist Katherine (Famke Janssen) can urge Emily out of her near-comatose funk, David takes Emily for an indefinite stay upstate in woodsy Woodland. Has he no patients• No other life?

David tries being friendly with neighbors such as Elizabeth (Elizabeth Shue) and Laura (Melissa Leo), but he’s put off a little by Sheriff Hafferty (Dylan Baker) and a lot by the rather-too-friendly neighbor Steven (Robert John Burke).

The least welcome visitor is Emily’s imaginary friend Charlie, who seems to titillate her at first.

Is she schizophrenic• Is there really a Charlie•

If done even somewhat competently, movies like “Hide and Seek” can be a lot of fun.

Unfortunately, despite an unsettling score by John Ottman, director John Polson (“Swimfan”) indulges an exceptionally high quotient of contrivances and red herrings in the screenplay by newcomer Art Schlossberg.

Fanning, 10, is an efficient little actress (“I Am Sam,” “Man on Fire”) who here gives a mechanically accomplished performance that lacks any purely intuitive feeling.

“Hide and Seek” isn’t so much a mystery as it is a protracted trick. At some point, audience members who have been around the corner a few times will catch on — perhaps earlier than intended — and not because the movie plays fair but because it adheres so rigorously to a familiar strain of hokum.

Watchable• Absolutely. Let’s just say it isn’t a thriller that can withstand scrutiny even through bottlecap glasses. Additional Information:


‘Hide and Seek’

Director : John Polson

Stars : Robert De Niro, Dakota Fanning, Elizabeth Shue

MPAA rating : R for frightening sequences and violence

Two and a half stars

Categories: News
TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.