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Mister Foe

17 customer reviews

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(Nov 11, 2008)
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Jamie Bell is Hallam Foe, a troubled young man whose knack for voyeurism paradoxically reveals his darkest fears, and his most peculiar desires. Driven to expose the true cause of his mother s death, he instead finds himself searching the rooftops of the city of Edinburgh for love. Featuring a lively soundtrack with Franz Ferdinand, Sons and Daughters and Orange Juice among others, MISTER FOE is a darkly twisted, entertaining work of magical realism.

A benevolent voyeur sounds like a contradiction in terms, but no one would confuse David Mackenzie's charming Mister Foe with Michael Powell's chilling Peeping Tom. Two years after his mother's death from drowning, 17-year-old Hallam (Jamie Bell, recalling Tom Courtenay) leaves the verdant Highlands to try his luck in the concrete jungle of Edinburgh. Suicide would be bad enough, but he's convinced his seductive stepmother Verity (Claire Forlani) murdered Mrs. Foe in order to have the prosperous Julius (Ciarán Hinds) all to herself. Upon arrival in the city, Hallam spots a businesslike blonde who resembles his mother. Obsessed, he convinces Kate (Art School Confidential's Sophia Myles) to hire him as dishwasher in the hotel she represents. Aside from keeping an eye on the personnel director at work, Hallam spies on her flat from his hiding place in the hotel clock tower. If Kate's reaction to Hallam's nocturnal activities comes as a surprise, the overly-Oedipal reasons for his behavior don't (marking one of the script’s few missteps). Since Mackenzie and Ed Whitmore adapted from Peter Jinks' novel, it's hard to say whether they also took inspiration from Jerzy Skolimowski's Deep End or Krzysztof Kieslowski’s A Short Film About Love, but their troubled protagonist is just as sympathetic; the older object of his affection just as appealing. Like Skolimowski's 1971 effort, Mister Foe also features a marvelous soundtrack, a choice collection of Scottish indie pop, including Franz Ferdinand's closing theme. Mister Foe marks essential viewing for fans of Mackenzie and Bell alike. --Kathleen C. Fennessy

Special Features

  • Interviews
  • Deleted Scenes

Product Details

  • Actors: Jamie Bell, Sophia Myles, Claire Forlani, Ciarán Hinds, Maurice Roeves
  • Directors: David Mackenzie
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Closed-captioned, Dolby, NTSC, Subtitled, Widescreen
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: Spanish
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: R (Restricted)
  • Studio: Magnolia Home Entertainment
  • DVD Release Date: November 11, 2008
  • Run Time: 96 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B001ER4CQQ
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #101,991 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Mister Foe" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

11 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Grady Harp HALL OF FAMETOP 100 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on November 14, 2008
Format: DVD
MISTER FOE (aka HALLAM FOE) is another dark film about buried pain and insecurities, much like director David Mackenzie's YOUNG ADAM. Mackenzie is also responsible for the crackling screenplay adapted from the novel by Peter Jinks, the story of a young lad named Hallam (Jamie Bell) damaged by his mother's death/?suicide to the point where he separates himself from the world by living in a tree house, observing his father (Ciarán Hinds) in his too rapid replacement of Hallam's mother with the dangerous Verity (Claire Forlani). A bizarre 17-year-old, Hallam attacks his fears and the world dressed in a manner of beast like costumes, all to assuage his grief for his mother's death. When Verity's behavior drives Hallam from his elegant home, he retreats to Edinburgh, becoming a boy of the streets. One day he spies a woman named Kate (Sophia Myles) who greatly resembles his dead mother and he begins stalking her, spying on her in every conceivable way until he convinces her to hire him in her hotel as a kitchen porter. Proximity feeds obsession and Hallam discovers that Kate is having an affair with a married hotel executive, the result of which is a clash with reality, and Hallam must confront his Oedipal desires with his coming to grips with the reality of his grief for this deceased mother. The discovery he makes with Kate transfers to his relationship with his own family and opens doors for growth rather than maintaining his jail-like mental anguish.

The story is bizarre and very dark at times, but the performance by Jamie Bell, well accompanied by those of Hinds, Forlani, Myles et al, make this tale of coming of age fascinating.
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful By John Pierson on September 21, 2008
Format: DVD
Not sure why the title was changed. Hallam is the name of the main character. Mister Foe doesn't make the title any more clear or, for that matter, any more interesting for the unknowing to want to view. The film is, however, very engaging and quirky. Jamie Bell is an under rated and remarkable talent in film today. He can always be trusted to give an unusual and startling performance. This is certainly no exception. It is not a great film but entertaining with quite a few bright moments. Claire Forlani is lovely to hate and Sophia Myles is very charming to watch. It is all about Bell though. He is destined for great things. From Billy Elliot to now his character choices and studies have been remarkable and he is to be applauded for not becoming "mainstream" in his thinking. Continue to expect greatness from him.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Lee Armstrong HALL OF FAMEVINE VOICE on February 12, 2009
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
"Mister Foe" is a delightful surprise! Perhaps oddball coming-of-age movies strike a chord with me. My all-time favorite is probably Harold and Maude about a young man who, like Hallam Foe, has unusual behavior. Jamie Bell, who was excellent in Jumper and came to our attention with "Billy Elliott" in 2000, plays a young man who is a peeping tom in an apparent reaction to the loss of his mother. The intensity and range he expresses glued my eyes to the film. Claire Forlani who captured my heart in "Meet Joe Black" and was recently in "In the Name of the King" plays the heavy in the film, the domineering step-mother. She does a great job with her subtle performance. The moment early on in the film where Hallam refers to her as a lady of the evening is followed by a pregnant pause at his faux pas, followed by her rollicking laughter. It's a great moment. Hallam sees Kate in Edinburgh who resembles his mother and follows her, securing a job where she works. Kate is played by the lovely Sophia Myles who was on TV's "Moonlight" and also played in the film "Tristan & Isolde." Myles comments on the appealing nature of Bell's posterior in a witty aside in the DVD featurette. Kate sports a businesslike air on the job, but lets loose in her private life. Hallam spies on her as she makes love to her married lover Alasdair played by Jamie Sives. The moment when Sives looks up and makes eye contact with Hallam and seems to enjoy being watched as he makes love is so wrong in so many ways and yet works marvelously in the context of the film.Read more ›
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By MScooch on March 3, 2011
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
I watch a LOT of movies, and as a huge fan of Jamie Bell I was really surprised that I had somehow missed this dark little film, which chronicles a young man's journey from awkward insecurity and longing to eventually letting go and moving on.

The film follows 18-year-old Hallam Foe (Jamie Bell) who has recently lost his mother to an apparent suicide. Completely obsessed with his mother, he even sleeps with a large picture of her over his bed. Hallam suspects that his stepmother (Claire Forlani) murdered his mother in order to get to his father (Ciaran Hinds) and his father's money. Spending most of his days in a treehouse built by his father, Hallam watches the world around him through a pair of binoculars as he becomes more and more socially awkward, choosing to wear a badger's skin on his head and covering himself with paint. After a wild, lustful mistake, Hallam is blackmailed into moving to Edinburgh, where he finds a job as a porter in a hotel whose HR manager (Sophia Myles) looks strikingly like his mother. Hallam begins to watch this look-alike from his clock-tower home, and thus ensues a dramatic and dark comedy, with plenty of sex and self-discovery along the way.

Early on the film, you kind of get this sense that Hallam's... um, quirks, if you will... come not from perversion, but rather from a deeper place, one created by the trauma of losing his mother. As weird as you might consider his obsession over his mother, you feel for the kid. You realize that if you were in a situation where you experienced some sort of heart-wrenching loss, you'd hope that there would be someone out there willing to stand by you despite your oddities.
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