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Hallam Foe


Stars: Jamie Bell, Sophia Myles, Ciaran Hinds, Claire Forlani, Jamie Sives, Ewen Bremner

Director: David Mackenzie

Teenager Hallam (Bell), haunted by the death of his mother in a boating accident, suspects his stepmother Verity (Forlani) of an unsavoury involvement. About to turn 18, he has developed into a Peeping Tom, spying on everyone from his treehouse, and on his father (Hinds) and stepmother in the house.

Seduced by Verity, who has his measure, Hallam is forced to flee to the city, where he takes a job as a hotel dishwasher, and is soon snooping on the comely manageress Kate (Myles) from his new eyrie in a clocktower.

Rumbled by her lover (Sives), Hallam turns the tables and begins an affair with Kate, who reminds him of his dead mother. But a visit from his father and stepmother brings dormant emotions back to the surface.

It's a whimsical rite of passage we're watching here, although the film's very explicit language, rather artificially inserted at times, and graphic sex scenes have earned it an 18 certificate in the UK - and it's hard to empathise, too, with a hero who gets his kicks from spying on people and would like to murder his stepmother without any real justification.

Credit Bell, though, with once again tackling something off the beaten track. And his scenes with Maurice Roeves, as the crusty head dishwasher, lend the film its only real shaft of warmth.

David Quinlan

UK 2006. UK Distributor: Buena Vista. Colour by de Luxe.
96 minutes. Widescreen. UK certificate: 18.

Guidance ratings (out of 3): Sex/nudity 2, Violence/Horror 1, Drugs 0, Swearing 3.

Review date: 28 Aug 2007