The Night Listener

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Rating: R

Starring:
Robin Williams as Gabriel Noone
Toni Collette as Donna D. Logand
Joe Morton as Ashe
Bobby Cannavale as Jess
Rory Culkin as Pete D. Logand
Sandra Oh as Anna
John Cullum as Pap Noone
Lisa Emery as Darlie Noone

Special Features:
Deleted Scene

“The Night Listener Revealed” — An in-depth look at the movie’s plot twists

Other Info:
Widescreen (1.85:1)
English Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround
French and Spanish Subtitles
Running Time: 81 Minutes

Synopsis:
The following is from the DVD cover:

“Academy Award® winner Robin Williams (Best Supporting Actor, ‘Good Will Hunting,’ 1997; ‘One Hour Photo,’ ‘Insomnia’) is unforgettable in a riveting, critically acclaimed psychological thriller based on true events! Gabriel Noone (Williams), a celebrated writer and late-night talk show host, becomes captivated by the harrowing story of a young listener and his adoptive mother (Toni Collette – ‘Little Miss Sunshine,’ ‘In Her Shoes’). When troubling questions arise about the boy’s identity, however, Noone finds himself drawn into a widening mystery that hides a deadly secret! Also starring Sandra Oh (‘Sideways,’ TV’s ‘Grey’s Anatomy’) and based on the best-selling novel by Armistead Maupin, ‘The Night Listener ‘delivers unpredictable twists and turns that will keep you on the edge of your seat!”

“The Night Listener’ is rated R for language and some disquieting sexual content.

Mini-Review:
On the DVD cover for this film, Roger Ebert is quoted as saying “The Night Listener” is “an eerie, Hitchcockian thriller”. That’s a pretty good description of the movie. The film is creepy, features psychologically disturbed individuals, and involves a mystery. So from that point of view, EbertÂ’s description is accurate.

There are almost two movies in one here. One features the breakdown of Noone’s homosexual relationship. It’s not terribly interesting and it’s a bit boring watching Noone wallow in depression. The second half of the story involves the mystery of whether Pete really exists or not. Unfortunately, that portion isn’t all that mysterious since the question seems pretty well answered as soon as Noone meets Donna. So all you’re left with is watching the cast (which is very good) perform their psychologically disturbed roles.

I thought “The Night Listener” was an interesting film, but it was a little too predictable for my tastes. I would still recommend it to fans of Robin Williams (at least fans of his serious roles), Toni Collette, and mysteries.

Two bonus features are included. “The Night Listener Revealed” is a 12 minute ‘making of’ video. The writers discuss the true inspiration for the film, bringing it to the screen, and the usual offerings. The presentation of the actual events is the most interesting portion of it. Also included is a single deleted scene. It features Noone returning to New York and getting spooked in his apartment when Donna makes a surprise appearance. I think the removal of it was the right call as it doesn’t fit the rest of the movie.

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