Aug 072006
 

Night_Listener.jpgIn the midst of his crumbling relationship, a radio show host begins speaking to his biggest fan, a young boy, via the telephone. But when questions about the boy’s identity come up, the host’s life is thrown into chaos.

Directed by
Patrick Stettner

Genres
Drama, Mystery, Thriller

Cast
Toni Collette, Robin Williams, Joe Morton, Bobby Cannavale, Rory Culkin, Sandra Oh, John Cullum

Lay and I saw this movie Sunday night. I have?to tell you one story about the audience. The movie has a very minor sub-plot revolving around the fact that the Robin Williams character is gay, and is recently separated from his lover.?When that was brought out at the very beginning of the movie, two guys attending together got all huffed up and walked out. They didn’t “realize it was a gay movie.”??

This Night Listener is better than people are generally saying. It has weaknesses, and it seems to be having a genre identity crisis, no doubt, but I think its creepy atmosphere and intriguing performances make up for this. The whole thing feels like one of those fireside “this happened to a friend of a friend of mine” ghost stories. One big complaint about the movie is the pacing: but the slow and sometimes awkward pacing is deliberate. Everything that unfolds in this movie is kept well within the realm of possibility, and real life just sort of plods along?no? So there are no flashy endings or earth-shattering revelations, no “showdown” scenes. Thank Heaven. You have to get into the zone when watching this movie, forget your reservations and your expectations of what makes a (conventionally)good movie. Williams isn’t terrific, but he easily meets the needs of the story, plus his character is supposed to be somewhat generic (“No One”) as he is the Everyman, the avatar by which we ourselves enter the story. Toni Collette’s performance should be nominated for an Oscar (even if she maybe shouldn’t win it). Give it a shot. For quality and content alone, The Night Listener is surely in the top twenty percent of movies coming out these days.

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