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Donald Sutherland makes Alex's laconic and utterly monstrous father the most frightening parent since John Huston in Chinatown. A series of flashbacks show how he introduced Alex to his trade, beginning with shooting squirrels in the woods. We never find out whether Alex's father has mob connections, and the fact that it's just a business to him ("This one's a big job, lots of moola, I'll buy your mother a Lexus") makes him all the more chilling. Alex's mother (the steely Barbara Bain) knows all about the family business, but his wife (Tracey Ullman) thinks he runs a mail-order company, and the only person he confides in is a therapist (John Ritter). When he meets and falls for Sarah, Alex realizes that he alone can stand up to his father, and he needs to act before his own son becomes the next apprentice.
Henry Bromell's debut film as a writer-director probes the same dark corners of the middle-aged male psyche as American Beauty and The Sopranos. Alex's tormented life is a symbol of the damage that parents can inflict on their children, and Bromell imbues his story with a tragic inevitability. Panic received a shamefully limited theatrical release, in spite of its rare combination of a great script and brilliant performances. It deserves to be rediscovered and appreciated by a much larger audience on home video. --Simon Leake
- Deleted footage
Top Customer Reviews
Alex (Macy) is tired; he has a loving wife, Martha (Tracey Ullman), a precocious six-year-old son, Sammy (David Dorfman), a mail order business he runs out of the house, as well as his main source of income, the "family" business he shares with his father, Michael (Sutherland), and his mother, Deidre (Barbara Bain). But he's empty; years of plying this particular trade have left him numb and detached, putting him in a mental state that has driven him to see a psychologist, Dr. Josh Parks (John Ritter). And to make matters worse (or maybe better, depending upon perspective), in Dr. Parks' waiting room he meets a young woman, Sarah Cassidy (Neve Campbell), whose presence alone makes him feel alive for the first time since he can remember. She quickly becomes another brick in the wall of the moral conflict his job has visited upon him, as in the days after their meeting he simply cannot stop thinking about her. His whole life, it seems, has become a "situation"-- one from which he is seemingly unable to successfully extirpate himself without hurting the ones he loves.Read more ›
Alex tells the therapist about his job and his therapist (John Ritter) is upfront. If Alex tells him about a forthcoming job he will have to report it, otherwise he is protected by doctor/patient confidentiality. Alex's father is played by Donald Sutherland, and a more cold blooded man would be hard to find. We see in flashbacks how Alex was trained by his old man and his first job as that of a killer.
"Panic" is one of those movies that grab you. It is well written, the actors are marvelous and just right for their parts. I had never heard of it. It is a quiet movie that seems to have come and gone. Daniel Dorfman is Alex's son, Sammy. What a fabulous young actor he is. We realize that Alex needs to save his son, so that the next generation, Sammy, that is, will not have to become a killer. A scene that is so telling is one of Gram and Grampa browbeating Sammy. We understand how Alex became the hit man, the murderer, the killer, the confused, mixed up man he is.
Alex makes a decision to quit this job. He will confront his father and put a stop to this horrible business. And why does Alex have to support his mother and father through this killing business?Read more ›
The side story involving Neve Campbell isn't very interesting.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
It was an entertaining movie, with good actors, but a predictable ending for me.Published 3 days ago by Loretta Diana Selby
I resent having rules about writing reviews. I'm happy to assign a number but don't have anything valuable to say so prefer not to be forced to do so.Published 8 days ago by Elise Bennett
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