An intriguing rites-of-passage story with a deliriously skewed perspective” (Empire Magazine), Mister Foe, exposes the joys and pains of a boy’s journey into adulthood when it arrives on DVD November 11 from Magnolia Home Entertainment. Based on the novel Hallam Foe by Peter Jinks, Jamie Bell (Jumper, Flags of Our Fathers) stars as the troubled and isolated Hallam Foe, who while spending his days spying on his family and haunted by his mother’s sudden death, begins to suspect that his beautiful stepmother may have played a hand in it. When the tension between Hallam and his father comes to a head, he runs away to Edinburgh where he effortlessly fades into the background of life by peering in on the lives of others, where he learns he can only hide for so long. With supporting performances from Sophia Myles (Tristan & Isolde) and Claire Forlani (Meet Joe Black), Mister Foe was an official selection of the 2007 Edinburgh International Film Festival. Winner of the Berlin Film Festival’s 2007 Independent Jury Prize for Best Music, the film features a lively soundtrack from popular Scottish artists Franz Ferdinand, Sons And Daughters, and Orange Juice.
Mister Foe is a dark and disturbing film about main character Hallam Foe. Hallam (Jamie Bell) is consumed with pain and has been taken over by a landslide of insecurities after the death of his mother who Hallam is convinced was killed by his stepmother, Verity (Claire Forlani). This leads Hallam to separate himself from the world by living in a tree house as he watches his father’s (Ciaran Hinds) rapid recovery from the incident as he moves forward with Verity.
After Verity discovers Hallam’s diaries she confronts him about the disturbing stalker-esque mannerisms he is developing. This incident leads to an awkward sexual encounter between the two ending with Verity telling Hallam it’s time for him to leave home which he does shortly thereafter. After surfacing in Edinburgh, he discovers Kate Breck (Sophia Myles) who bares a striking resemblance to his departed mother.
The description of the film says that Hallam was searching the rooftops for love, which I find wildly inaccurate. Much like his time at home, his obsession continues and locks in on Kate. He gets a job where she works, follows her out at night to her local hangouts, and breaks into her apartment only to escape a couple minutes later through the window as Kate walks in the door. He spends the rest of the night on the rooftop watching her through the window.
Hallam soon discovers that the upstairs tower of the hotel he works in provides an excellent view of Kate’s apartment, and he proceeds to sets up camp there. With the aid of some incredibly powered binoculars he keeps an eye on Kate and soon discovers the man in her life. Upset and disturbed, Hallam has to get a closer look. Returning to her roof, he finds the pair having sex and also overhears a conversation revealing that the man is married and not to Kate.
The following day, he visits the police and reporters the murder of his mother by his step mother. After returning to the tower, he is discovered by a hotel employee, who also happens to be the man Kate has been sleeping with. The man discovers that Hallam has been spying on Kate and kicks him out of the hotel. Hallam, tries to bargain with him, saying he’ll keep the secret if the man does as well. The man disagrees, leading Hallam to take more dramatic measures to ensure that his secret stays safe.
While the viewer can’t help but be creeped out by Hallam as he stalks Kate and in private, even wears his mother’s old dresses, you also can’t help but to feel sorry to him as he clearly has issues deeper than the film lets on. The film gets increasingly more disturbing as it unfolds and leaves the viewer with a sense of sadness and brief moments of hope as we learn that Kate, in fact, ‘likes creepy guys.’
If you’re wondering about the special features, all you’re going to get with this release is behind the scenes footage and some delete scenes, not much, but not bad either. Another thing worth pointing out, the film has a fantastic soundtrack featuring Franz Ferdinand, Sons and Daughters, and Orange Juice among others.
Review by Emma Loggins