Jamie Bell is Hallam Foe, a troubled young man whose knack for voyeurism paradoxically reveals his darkest fears, and his most peculiar desires. Driven to expose the true cause of his mother s death, he instead finds himse... more »lf searching the rooftops of the city of Edinburgh for love. Featuring a lively soundtrack with Franz Ferdinand, Sons and Daughters and Orange Juice among others, MISTER FOE is a darkly twisted, entertaining work of magical realism.« less
Grady Harp | Los Angeles, CA United States | 11/14/2008
(4 out of 5 stars)
"MISTER FOE (aka HALLAM FOE) is another dark film about buried pain and insecurities, much like director David Mackenzie's YOUNG ADAM. Mackenzie is also responsible for the crackling screenplay adapted from the novel by Peter Jinks, the story of a young lad named Hallam (Jamie Bell) damaged by his mother's death/?suicide to the point where he separates himself from the world by living in a tree house, observing his father (Ciarán Hinds) in his too rapid replacement of Hallam's mother with the dangerous Verity (Claire Forlani). A bizarre 17-year-old, Hallam attacks his fears and the world dressed in a manner of beast like costumes, all to assuage his grief for his mother's death. When Verity's behavior drives Hallam from his elegant home, he retreats to Edinburgh, becoming a boy of the streets. One day he spies a woman named Kate (Sophia Myles) who greatly resembles his dead mother and he begins stalking her, spying on her in every conceivable way until he convinces her to hire him in her hotel as a kitchen porter. Proximity feeds obsession and Hallam discovers that Kate is having an affair with a married hotel executive, the result of which is a clash with reality, and Hallam must confront his Oedipal desires with his coming to grips with the reality of his grief for this deceased mother. The discovery he makes with Kate transfers to his relationship with his own family and opens doors for growth rather than maintaining his jail-like mental anguish.
The story is bizarre and very dark at times, but the performance by Jamie Bell, well accompanied by those of Hinds, Forlani, Myles et al, make this tale of coming of age fascinating. The art direction (Caroline Grebbell), cinematography (Giles Nuttgens) and musical score (as concocted by Matt Biffa from performers such as Future Pilot A.K.A.) enhance the production - maintaining the high standards set by Mackenzie. Hallam is a lad we grow to love despite his kooky behavior: few other actors could inhabit this role with the élan of the considerably talented Jamie Bell. Recommended. Grady Harp, November 08"
What Happened to Hallam?
John Pierson | New York, NY United States | 09/21/2008
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Not sure why the title was changed. Hallam is the name of the main character. Mister Foe doesn't make the title any more clear or, for that matter, any more interesting for the unknowing to want to view. The film is, however, very engaging and quirky. Jamie Bell is an under rated and remarkable talent in film today. He can always be trusted to give an unusual and startling performance. This is certainly no exception. It is not a great film but entertaining with quite a few bright moments. Claire Forlani is lovely to hate and Sophia Myles is very charming to watch. It is all about Bell though. He is destined for great things. From Billy Elliot to now his character choices and studies have been remarkable and he is to be applauded for not becoming "mainstream" in his thinking. Continue to expect greatness from him."
Bell Is Great in This Strange, Unusual Film
thornhillatthemovies.com | Venice, CA United States | 10/08/2008
(4 out of 5 stars)
"There are certain films that would never have been made by a major Hollywood studio. If that's the case, how do I even know about them? How do I see them? I seek them out in independent theaters specializing in foreign and independently made films. Or I watch them on DVD, eagerly anticipating the chance to experience these films I have heard about. Frequently, these films tell stories that are odd, or unusual, in some way. Perhaps, they are small slices of life, delving into a few eccentric characters. Maybe they follow the sexual awakening, in more frank detail, of a central character. Maybe they are just plain off the wall. Frequently, these little films are real finds and contain some great performances in highly unique stories, stories too challenging for a major studio to produce and release. All of these definitions apply to "Mister Foe", the new Scottish film starring Jamie Bell ("Billy Elliott", "Jumper").
A strange note. In Scotland, this film is called "Hallam Foe", after the main character's full name. In America, it is called "Mister Foe". I guess the American distribution company didn't think we would know what "Hallam" meant. But "Mister"? Bell's character is less mentally developed than a teenager. "Mister" is not a good choice.
Hallam Foe (Bell) is a strange young man. He likes to hang out in his tree house and watch the comings and goings of the people on his father's (Ciaran Hinds) estate. But he is also disturbed by the theory he has surrounding his mom's death; he suspects his new step-mother, Verity (Claire Forlani, "Meet Joe Black", "Basquiat") of killing his mom so she can marry his father and inherit the huge estate. Verity was his father's former assistant and has now accepted a larger role in the company. Hallam's sister recognizes the signs and heads to Australia. But Hallam stays behind, determined to prove Verity is a murderer. One night, he tries to seduce her and this leads him to flee to Edinburgh where he gets a job in a large hotel. Hiding out in the clock tower, he starts to spy on Kate (Sophia Myles, "Underworld", "Art School Confidential", TV's "Moonlight"), the HR director who hired him. She lives in a building across the way and he breaks out his trusty binoculars. Soon, they start to chat and Hallam becomes more involved in her life. But his father and step-mom make an inopportune appearance, trying to get him to return home.
Directed by David McKenzie ("Young Adam"), "Mister Foe" tells a unique, strange, interesting, more sexually frank story about a unique young man.
"Foe" is as interesting as it is because of the performance of Jamie Bell. Bell initially made a splash as "Billy Elliott", but in the intervening years, he has appeared in a number of forgettable or ignored films. Now with "Mister Foe", he plays a strange young man with a lot of issues, insecurities and development problems. Bell's performance is close to mesmerizing. The actor seems to get so completely lost in all of the different aspects of the character, making him believable, rich and alive.
Hallam waits in his tree house, dressed in animal skins and war paint, lying in wait for a friend of his. Soon, a young lady and her boyfriend walk by and fall to the ground and start making love, groping each other's bodies. Hallam clearly knows one of both of these people and grabs his zip line. Shouting, he quickly lands in the middle of the couple, startling both. They rush off, hurling threats at him.
The amazing thing about this performance is that even though Hallam is seventeen or eighteen, he has the maturity of a nine or ten year old. And Bell makes us understand this and believe it through his portrayal.
After the falling out with his father and step-mom, he runs off to Edinburgh and gets a job washing dishes in the kitchen of a large hotel. He finds a little nook behind a large clock and makes his home there. The unique vantage point allows him to continue his favorite past time, to watch people. He soon realizes Kate (Sophia Myles), the HR person who hired him, lives across the street in a small apartment. And he also realizes that Alasdair (Jamie Sives), the head porter, is having an extra marital affair with Kate. He begins to watch them.
Soon, Kate becomes attracted to Hallam and their relationship takes some interesting, frank turns.
Bell's performance is what makes "Mister Foe" so interesting. Bell seems to take in all of Foe's problems and exhibit them for us as though they are his own. Because the performance is so open and revealing, we get a real feel for the character and what he is feeling and going through. I doubt it will happen, but Bell should be remembered when the Oscars roll around next February.
Sophia Myles is also good as Kate. A single woman, she takes her job very seriously and maintains a very good business demeanor. After she and Hallam begin seeing each other, their relationship seems very natural, goes through some believable ups and downs, based on what we know of their characters. It is almost a bit refreshing to see a female act in the way Kate acts. She is a modern woman and knows what she wants and likes. If she isn't getting that, she moves on. Doesn't want to waste a lot of time.
"Mister Foe" is populated with many other characters. Verity, played by Claire Forlani, is particularly mysterious and complex. But the film is about Hallam; he is the center of this universe and his character is so strong, everything else seems like an after thought.
"Mister Foe" is strange, unusual and worth your time."
Sparkling with Energy
Lee Armstrong | Winterville, NC United States | 02/12/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
""Mister Foe" is a delightful surprise! Perhaps oddball coming-of-age movies strike a chord with me. My all-time favorite is probably Harold and Maude about a young man who, like Hallam Foe, has unusual behavior. Jamie Bell, who was excellent in Jumper and came to our attention with "Billy Elliott" in 2000, plays a young man who is a peeping tom in an apparent reaction to the loss of his mother. The intensity and range he expresses glued my eyes to the film. Claire Forlani who captured my heart in "Meet Joe Black" and was recently in "In the Name of the King" plays the heavy in the film, the domineering step-mother. She does a great job with her subtle performance. The moment early on in the film where Hallam refers to her as a lady of the evening is followed by a pregnant pause at his faux pas, followed by her rollicking laughter. It's a great moment. Hallam sees Kate in Edinburgh who resembles his mother and follows her, securing a job where she works. Kate is played by the lovely Sophia Myles who was on TV's "Moonlight" and also played in the film "Tristan & Isolde." Myles comments on the appealing nature of Bell's posterior in a witty aside in the DVD featurette. Kate sports a businesslike air on the job, but lets loose in her private life. Hallam spies on her as she makes love to her married lover Alasdair played by Jamie Sives. The moment when Sives looks up and makes eye contact with Hallam and seems to enjoy being watched as he makes love is so wrong in so many ways and yet works marvelously in the context of the film. Ciaran Hinds who was great in Stop-Loss and also was in "There Will Be Blood" plays Hallam's father Julius. The touching father-son moment is well played and creates emotional depth. Ewen Bremner who was in "Fool's Gold" has a delightful deleted scene and a sparkling cameo as Andy the bellhop. Maurice Roeves also has a great cameo as the grizzly old dishwasher. "Mister Foe" may be a naughty pleasure, but it is a delightful film, sparkling with energy and originality. Bravo!"
L. Jokubaitis | USA | 01/07/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
"A movie about voyeurism, love, death, fear and desire aptly played by Jamie Bell, who has an innocence yet a magnetic sex appeal that is unmatched by any creepy habit he may have. This is one of the best movies I have seen in a long time, a boy growing into a man."