Cry of the Owl

This is an offbeat straight-to-DVD (I think) thriller based on the Patricia Highsmith novel of the same name.  Now I was never the biggest Highsmith fan.  She’s always seemed to me to exemplify a certain misguided Freudian strain of psychological writing in which all crime can be traced back to repressed (usually homo-) sexuality.  But there are people I respect a bundle who think she was one of the greatest crime writers ever–and I certainly love some of the movies that have come from her books, especially the Hitchcock classic Strangers on a Train and the excellent and underrated The Talented Mr. Ripley.

Pretty Weird.

In “Owl,” a depressed man (Paddy Considine) in the midst of a divorce from a genuinely creepy wife moves to the country where he finds himself obsessed with watching a local girl through her window.  When she catches him at it, she draws him into her life and turns out to be none-too-stable herself.  But that’s just the beginning.  There are plenty of unexpected twists and turns to come.

It’s a bit slow and it doesn’t quite work in the end, but I found it pretty involving and surprising nonetheless.  I liked the adorable Julia Stiles in an admirably unglamorous and realistic performance.  But Caroline Dhavernas walks away with every scene she’s in.  Yeah, I never heard of her either but she virtually came out of the television set at me–sexy and very weird.  Gord Rand plays the requisite Highsmith latent homosexual.

This won’t blow you away, but it’s different and interesting.

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  • ScottDS

    If you like Caroline Dhavernas (she mostly works in her native Canada), then Netflix a short-lived Fox show called Wonderfalls. :-)

  • Wemedge

    Just saw it. Good stuff. Thanks, Klavan.

  • Ronald Cox

    I second ScottDS’s recommendation re Dhavernas. Wonderfalls is quite good and it is mostly because of Dhavernas.