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Night Listener, The


Stars: Robin Williams, Toni Collette, Rory Culkin, Bobby Cannavale, Sandra Oh, Joe Morton

Director: Patrick Stettner

Too many mysteries are left only half-explained in this rather creepy film.

A grizzled Robin Williams, looking almost as old as the actor who plays his father, is Gabriel, a famous radio storyteller who becomes involved over the phone with a 14-year-old boy (Culkin) who, dying from AIDs, has written a searing first novel that Gabe's producer (Morton) wants to publish - containing strong scenes of abuse that may relate to the boy's own past.

Gabe also speaks to the boy's mother (Collette), whom we see as a lively redhead caring for her son. But then Williams' ex (Cannavale) observes that mother and son sound exactly alike. Williams, suddenly doubting the boy exists, heads for his address in Wisconsin, which proves to be a mail box.

At this point, of course, our hero should turn and run, but then we wouldn't get any explanations at all for a plot which already poses more questions than it answers. Seldom, however, has the ring of a phone sounded more menacing than it does in this movie.

David Quinlan

USA 2006. UK Distributor: Icon. Technicolor.
81 minutes. Not widescreen. UK certificate: 15.

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

Review date: 12 Sep 2006