A fine thriller with superb art direction, photography and a stellar score from Howard Shore. Fincher clearly knows what he wants here but unfortunately he is content with achieving technical and tonal perfection but misses the mark when it comes to giving the characters life, purpose and agency. What we get is a very pretty film to look at but nothing to think about or feel when the credits roll.
Easy to underrate because, after Fight Club made him idolized by suburbanites going through their anarchy phase, Fincher switched and went the pure genre route. But no one who values Hitchcock should miss it: it evokes 50s Hitch from the opening credits, then toys with what the Master of Suspense might have been able to do with a digital bag of tricks. Leanly plotted, visually marvelous. Good, clean, dark fun.
Fincher's obsession with the violation of cinematic space reaches its apotheosis with Panic Room. The restless camera, which only distracted in Fight Club, here is used to sublime effect. Darting impossibly through walls, floors, handles, pillars and key holes, the digitally-enhanced camera mimics and comments upon the literal violation of the space of the house by the three burglars.
This is my favorite David Fincher film in many ways. It's pure craft which plays to Fincher's visual strengths. It's a great concept and the story is intelligently laid out. Foster is in her element while Forest Whitaker gives a sad, emotional heft to the proceedings.