MOVIE: 'The Monitor' [Baby Call] Dubbed in English

Not long after she hit the international stage as Lisbeth http://cdn.bloody-disgusting.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/05/DVD_The_Monitor.jpgSalander in the original "Girl With, etc." trilogy, but right before she hit American screens in Sherlock Holmes: Game of Shadows and Prometheus, the excellent Swedish actress Noomi Rapace starred in a dry, slow, and generically psychological thriller has been recently released on American DVD under the title of The Monitor

Inspired by the tech-centric gimmicks found in J-horror films like The Ring and One Missed Call and presented as a deliberate yet adequately compelling character study, The Monitor is neither a horror flick the actress should be embarrassed about nor a hidden treasure that fans will soon discover and champion.
The Monitor is a movie about Anna, a  mother and her eight-year-old son who have taken up residence in a bleak apartment building, in an effort to avoid contact with the boy's horribly abusive father. 
Anna (Rapace) is so paranoid about her son's safety that she purchases a baby monitor that will allow her to hear what goes on in the kid's bedroom. But then a bunch of things happen: Anna hears phantom sounds coming from the electronic box; the guy who sold her the monitor seems to have his own emotional problems to deal with; a pair of nosy government workers suddenly drop by and make Anna feel even more desperate and worried; and a quiet neighborhood kid seems to know something unsettling about the apartment building.
To the film's credit, The Monitor assembles its basic parts into a perfectly serviceable psycho-thriller. 
Ms. Rapace's Anna is both sympathetic and slightly off-center, allowing a viewer to feel for her plight, even if they don't entirely trust all of her actions. Kristoffer Joner adds a strong counter-point to Ms. Rapace's bleary-eyed and unsettling performance: despite being just a little bit "creepy" in his own right, his character helps to warm up a generally chilly tale. A few supporting players do fine work (including Vetle Werring as the unhappy kid), but this is really a Noomi Rapace "product," and the actress has no problem carrying an engaging thriller on her back for 95 minutes.
The downfall of the film is its English dubbing [I would have rasther read subtitles],. but its low-key approach to potentially supernatural occurrences work in its favor, as does the uniformly strong cast. 

For a film that contains an obvious handful of familiar concepts and themes, writer/director Pal Sletaune keeps the plot threads balanced while offering just enough mysteries to keep us guessing -- and an ending that you might expect, but still makes a good movie.



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