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3.7 out of 5 stars32
3.7 out of 5 stars
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on 23 September 2009
Troubled by his mother's death, Hallam Foe (Bell) runs away to Edinburgh where he finds a woman who looks startling like his mother

The nature of Hallam Foe shows a young lad fighting an onslaught of emotions after the sudden and complicated death of his mother. The suspicious nature of the death plagues Hallam and from the very beginning we have a very real and interesting mystery drama on our hands.

British cinema has reawakened over the past 5 or so years. From the national biased and racist drama This is England to the sexual stereotyping social teens in Kidulthood our countries are not afraid to tackle significant and relative ideologies head on.

Hallam Foe, whilst encoding conceptual meaning of peeping toms, murder and family, doesn't have the scripting to suggest it is a preacher. It feels more established, like a string of events that keeps rolling and rolling until the sharp end is strung. Everything flows very smoothly and the progression of harmless nosey Parker to obsession becomes an infatuation ideology to comprehend.

The reasoning behind Hallam's curiosity is seemingly obvious and then picks up a whole different meaning after a shock night out. This 2007 picture packs a dramatic punch with Hallam's obsessive hobby and whilst the emotional depth may not be as strong as Tom Turgoose's character's bullied political stance, there is no denying the significant relevance of the, what is no now regarded as, perverse nature of the central protagonist.

Jamie Bell delivers a withdrawn stance as Hallam, a clever depiction for a character who wants to conform and say what he feels whilst holding himself in his own regard. The title character is strong to lead, adds the necessary drama whilst never letting up on the controversial stalker ideology whilst never being too in your face to be a preacher.

The scripting never makes you feel like you're being force fed issues and regulations like some British films do, as with East is East for example. Perhaps calling this a romantic love story with drama is too generalized. There is a significant heap of relevance and understanding to digest as Hallam tackles his way through a job with the knowledge of his step mother's nature on his conscious. Mystery, romance and drama are all present in a strongly knit script that packs comedy as well as drama.

As with your typical British film the scene setting and adjustment in context is spot on. The opening scenes of Hallam walking around the country are splendid but the best shot comes when he is climbing the roofs of Edinburgh with his boss.

What I must say is that whilst programmes such as Skins and films such as Brassed off all have relevance to real life is relative, Hallam Foe is perhaps a more established show that does not showcase its issues, and for that reason it is up there with the best British films. Not to mention it has the best soundtrack for any British film.

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on 12 December 2007
The story is an oblique one and reasonably well told but.... It gets a bit lost in places and really doesn't know where it is going. It could have been cut down but that would have made it a very small film indeed; so I guess it just needed a bit more content.
Performances were good so no criticism there and overall I enjoyed it but it should have been better.
A good film that could have been great.
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on 3 May 2016
Excellent service ~ very pleased ~ many thanks
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on 14 September 2015
I love this film. Subtle and interesting.
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 29 May 2013
This 2007 film by British film-maker David Mackenzie (based on a novel by Peter Jinks) has many things going for it - a relatively original (at times, Billy Liar-like) Oedipus-based narrative, an evocative Glasgow setting and an impressively diverse musical soundtrack - but whilst Hallam Foe builds on the promise Mackenzie showed in his earlier films, The Last Great Wilderness and Young Adam, once again the film does not (for me, at least) quite fulfil its early potential.

The core of Hallam Foe's narrative concerns the eponymous hero (Jamie Bell), who suspects his newly ensconced step-mother Verity (Claire Forlani) of complicity in his mother's recent death. Hallam's obsession with this theory has led to him 'dropping out' of ordinary life and instead eccentrically inhabiting a tree house (whose wall is dominated by a photo of his idolised mother), daubing himself with his mother's make-up and spying on passers-by in his fantasy world. Following Verity's discovery of his voyeuristic hobby Hallam is forced out of his father's (Ciaran Hinds) country home and seeks employment in Glasgow as a hotel kitchen porter and where, between bouts of roaming the rooftops, he becomes obsessed with his mother-lookalike, fellow hotel worker Kate (Sophia Myles).

Mackenzie's film, for me, scores particularly well during its first hour or so. He creates an effectively brooding sense of resentment between Hallam and his step mother, Forlani being particularly impressive as the cold, creepy intruder, and as the setting moves to urban Glasgow, cinematographer Giles Nuttgens' work lends an authentically evocative (and innovative) touch with its mix of sweeping night-time panoramas, dynamic hand-held shots and skilful close-ups. Acting-wise, Bell is pretty convincing (he was still only 21 at the time) as the whimsical, romantic obsessive and, for a 'smoggie' from Teesside, has mastered an eerily convincing Ewan McGregor-like (OK, Perthshire rather than Glasgow) Scots accent. Both Hinds and Forlani are impressive, whilst Myles as the target of Hallam's obsession delivers a nicely reserved turn. The film also includes impressive 'character' performances by the great Maurice Roëves as Hallam's fellow kitchen worker, the gnarled veteran Raymond ('I killed a man once, smashed his head on a pier') and from (a rather under-used) Ewen Bremner as Hallam's hotel porter colleague.

The film moves along at a good pace, driven by Mackenzie's wittily humorous screenplay, although his (apparently trademark) tendency to include a high sex content does seem rather overdone at times (for example, Hallam's mad coupling with his step mother) and the sub-plot around Kate's lover, the married Alasdair (Jamie Sives), is also fairly predictable (albeit containing a number of hilarious set-pieces). This type of film also often suffers from the 'difficult ending syndrome' i.e. conclusive vs. non-conclusive, dramatic vs. non-dramatic, etc, and whilst Mackenzie is not entirely successful in this respect, I think he actually does a pretty good job.

In terms of likenesses to other films, for me, (as well as the sometime Billy Liar similarity) the mood (and dark humour) of Hallam Foe is at times rather like Danny Boyle's Shallow Grave and also Peter Mullan's Orphans. Mackenzie should also be praised for his choice of soundtrack, which as well as featuring Orange Juice's Blue Boy (worth a star in itself, in my book) - over David Shrigley's marvellous cartoon titles - also includes music by Franz Ferdinand, King Creosote and other more obscure British bands (Movietone, Four Tet, Hood, Woodbine, Ganger, Quickstep).
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on 6 June 2008
This film keeps you watching to the very end and never bores. The story line is continuous and acting is on the whole very good. I'm not going to give a full synopsis I rented this film and think this adds to the quality of home grown film talent we have.
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on 21 April 2010
excellent value from Amazon. Wonderful and thought provoking film. Jamie Bell a total success
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on 30 December 2008
Jamie Bell plays Hallam, a messed up teenager living in Scotland with voyeuristic tendencies. It's a year after his beloved mother's suicide. Hallam deals with his mother's death by spying on people. He lives with his dad & his dad's girlfriend Verity (Claire Forlani) (mistress when his mother was alive) & his sister Jenny.
Hallam decides to move to Edinbrough. He gets a job washing dishes at a hotel. Here he meets Kate (Sophia Myles) & he becomes obsessed with her because she has a strong resemblance to his late mother.

`Hallam Foe' is an above average indie film. I enjoyed it, but I didn't like it enough to go out of my way to watch it again. While Hallam has depth & charm I can't say the same for the rest of the cast, especially the women who are much undeveloped.
The sexual chemistry between Sophia Myles & Jamie Bell is strangely obvious.
The movie succeeds in being quirky & original, but the character of Hallam is too creepy to be relatable, he's not particularly likeable to say the least. The one thing found most believable & loved about the film is the unlikely relationship between Hallam & Kate.

In conclusion a good film, not essential viewing but if you can watch it on TV or borrow it from someone, then I would advise you do, just to take a look. Its definitely not as good as (director) David Mackenzie's first offering `About Adam'.
If you liked this then I would recommend: `Control' & `The Squid And The Whale'.
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on 17 December 2014
love it-and the service first class
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on 28 February 2013
saw this advertised and chose it because it was scottish - it was a very good film well made and funny
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