Reviewed by

Christopher Armstead

In watching all of these movies that we watch, 98% of which feature at least one, most of the times more than one impossibly beautiful woman, I have noted that given the choice I’d much rather be good looking than a good actor (of which I am neither) because I could conceivably learn how to act. English director David McKenzie’s latest film ‘Mister Foe’ is proof of this theorem in action as it features the impossibly beautiful Sophia Myles who we personally first saw here in the movie ‘Underworld’ and later in the completely lackluster ‘Tristan and Isolde’, with neither film leading us to rave about anything about the British beauty other than the fact that’s she mighty easy to look at. Now comes ‘Mister Foe’, a film in which amazingly Ms. Myles seems to become less beautiful as the film goes on, but yet increasingly more difficult to turn away from, as her performance in this movie was that powerful.

Hallam Foe (Jamie Bell), to say the least, has some issues. To pass the time, Hallam, who has recently graduated from High School, likes to hang out in his custom built tree house adorned with an 8ft by 8ft mural of his dead mother, dress up in her clothes, draw circles around his nipples with lipstick and spy on his neighbors with his handy binoculars. I don’t what they call this kind of behavior in the UK where this movie takes place, but where I come from we call it Ka-razay! However truth be told this isn’t Hallam’s major problem as his number one issue is that he’s fairly certain that his Step Mother Verity (Claire Forlani) murdered his mom. Now I don’t know if Verity killed this woman or not, but she does recognize that her step son hates her and that if she is to continue successfully in her marriage to his father Julius (Ciaran Hinds), Hallam, just like his older sister Lucy (Lucy Holt) before him, has gotta go. Though Hallam would much rather stay at his father’s lush Scottish estate and continue to make life miserable for Verity, circumstances, as it were, cause the boy to flee… and in a hurry.

Now Hallam finds himself on the rough and tumble streets of London with no money, no home and no direction, at least until he spies the lovely Kate (Myles) walking down the alley who bears a shocking resemblance to his dead mother. Hallam then proceeds to do what he does, which is invading peoples privacy by spying on them with his binoculars. Hallam clandestinely observes the woman, breaks into her home and invades her underwear drawer among other things. Hallam even manages to get himself hired working in the hotel kitchen of Kate’s place of business where she is an HR manager.

Kate has some issues of her own she is dealing with such as her relationship with a married, asshole fellow employee and an overall lack of self-esteem. Eventually these two tattered souls will come together, though we wouldn’t exactly call their relationship a ‘healthy’ one. Mind you Hallam is still convinced his step mom has killed his birth mom, with all of these issues the young man in dealing with coming to a head with near tragic results. Just to let you know that the first time I see my son drawing lipstick around his nipples, he’s taking the express train to therapy. Hell if I know what’s wrong with these people.

Now we understand that Hallam’s mother is dead and how bad that has to suck, but in basically the course of a couple of months Hallam proceeds to have sex with characters that look just like Claire Forlani and Sophia Myles which one would think might lessen the pain just a little bit. Excusing of course that one of these characters is your step mother and the other looks just like your dead birth mother. Oh well. Initially before walking into the theater to see David McKenzie’s latest film I’m thinking "do we really need yet another coming of age movie?" Apparently we do as long as the film is as offbeat, dark, fresh and as innovative as ‘Mister Foe’. In a sense it’s a bit confusing as to why I enjoyed this film so much as it didn’t have a single character who I would even remotely consider having dinner with, and that includes dames Forlani and Myles, and if anyone can in relate in anyway to the way Hallam chooses to deal with his various issues then they may need therapy just as bad he does. So the challenge for David McKenzie becomes how do you turn a character, who is a maladjusted peeping tom with deep rooted emotional problems, into a sympathetic one? The answer to that would be with a sharp clever script, a seriously dark sense of wit and a great performance from star Jamie Bell. Despite Hallam’s obvious problem’s, Bell manages to give his character some much needed humanity that gradually raises the quality of our opinion of his character over the course of the film and also raises the overall quality of the film. The same can be said for the performance of Sophia Myles, but in converse, as her character becomes more human as more of her exterior is chipped away, which might lower our opinion of her character but still manages make her character far more accessible.

‘Mister Foe’ certainly isn’t a film that’s for everyone as it is bizarre almost to the macabre at points, has a sense of humor that probably only people who are a little crazy themselves can appreciate, and is a very dark tale while avoiding being a brooding one. Nonetheless it’s a film that I found intensely fascinating and one that I still recommend for anyone looking for something that’s avoids predictability while still finding a way to be very entertaining.

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