Panic Room is a straight-forward but highly entertaining thriller. Considering that almost all action happens in a single house in New York City, this is not a small accomplishment.
Meg Altman (Jodie Foster) and her daughter Sarah (Kristen Stewart) have just moved into a New York "mansion" that belonged to a former tycoon. Handicapped, the former owner constructed a elevator and a "panic room", that lets one withstand a siege in case of an emergency. On their first night, the room becomes a necessity: three thieves (played Forest Whitaker, Dwight Yoakim, and Jared Leto), looking for the money the former owner allegedly hid, break into the house unaware that the new occupants have moved in already. (Due to a misunderstanding involving the number of (business) days in a real-estate transaction.)
The film is fast-paced and doesn't waste time with too many details. The thieves are pitted against Meg (and each other) and it's just a matter of time before one of them gives. The actors play their roles well and the casting is just right. Jodie Foster is convincing as a hapless but determined mother who is out to protect her child. Among the villains, Forest Whitaker nicely plays the role of a person who is trapped by circumstance in a situation he doesn't want to be in.
Jodie Foster does a great job and she carries the burden of the film well. Director David Fincher, who previously helmed Seven and Fight Club, departs from his bleak vision of the world to something resembling optimism (relatively speaking). The sound track is quite good. Like with many other movies of its kind, it's the experience while watching it that counts (as opposed to providing pseudointellectual fodder for later discussion) and this film definitely doesn't disappoint in that regard. I recommend checking it out on the big screen.