Tuesday, September 02, 2008
Movie: Hallam Foe
First off, this movie is being marketed as Mister Foe for U.S. audiences. I guess they were worried no one would know what a "hallam" is and wouldn't come to the movie. Either way, I have never completely understood marketing it as one title one place and another title elsewhere, while in the same language (this reminds me of Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, which could have just been explained in the book). But I digress...
Hallam Foe is a British drama about a teenager named Hallam Foe, played by Jamie Bell, who acts out his response to his mother's death by venturing into a life of voyeurism. We meet Hallam a couple of years after his mother's suicide by drowning, when his father is remarried to a woman he hates. All this contributes to his peeping tom habits, tendency to wear makeup as war paint, and dressing in his mother's clothes (which reminds me of The Mudge Boy, where Emile Hirsch also dresses as a woman and does some creepy spying of his own in dealing with his mother's death). Hallam leaves home and heads to the streets of London, where he discovers an older woman (Sophia Myles) that looks strikingly like his mother. He follows her and sets up camp in locations where he can spy on her daily activities. In the meantime, he becomes convinced that his step-mother is guilty of murdering his mother.
Jamie Bell does an excellent job of portraying the lost soul of Hallam, the need for a maternal figure, the paranoia of how his mother died, his loneliness. Bell is a very talented actor, whom I have adored since Billy Elliot. I am glad to see him taking on a leading role again, as I have only seen him in King Kong and Flags of our Fathers since then.
This was a different type of role for Sophia Myles as well, since I have only seen her in Moonlight and Tristan & Isolde. Her character Kate was certainly edgier than either of those characters. And a little bit more messy. It was a nice change.
The supporting cast was rounded out by Ciaran Hinds as Hallam's father and Claire Forlani as his step-mother.
This was not your average coming-of-age tale, and I definitely recommend it, if you enjoy stories that are a bit on the odd side (which I do).