GFF 2012: Babycall
Noomi Rapace (Millennium Trilogy) turns in another ferociously intense performance as Anna, a traumatised mother relocated with her young son to escape an abusive husband. Under the unnecessarily sinister watch of child services, Anna is holed up in a soul-crushing, prison-like apartment block where her increasingly paranoid guard of the boy raises eyebrows. After she purchases the eponymous child-monitor, it begins to pick up worrying noises from elsewhere in the building; is she hearing cruelty similar to that endured by her family, or is all not quite as it seems?
Writer/director Pål Sletaune maintains a fraught, creepy atmosphere throughout, making excellent use of the claustrophobic interiors and sparse, crumbling neighbourhood surrounds. Oppressive, unnerving sound design and stark lighting also add to the predominant air of dread. Though it doesn’t quite hang together, and one can justifiably feel slightly cheated by Sletaune at the dénouement, this is an uncomfortable watch and Rapace is again superb... but she really does need to get some cakes in her. [Chris Fyvie]