The Cry of the Owl (2009)

Genre(s): Drama / Thriller
Paramount || R - 99 minutes - $22.98 || June 8, 2010
Reviewer: Brian Oliver || Posted On: 2010-06-21

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.:: F I L M ::.
The Film

.: F E A T U R E S :.

Special Features

.:: V I D E O ::.

.:: A U D I O ::.

.:: O V E R A L L ::.
Director: Jamie Thraves
Writer(s): Patricia Highsmith (novel); Jamies Thraves (written by)
Cast: Paddy Considine, Julia Stiles

Supplemental Material:

Technical Information:
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Widescreen (2.35)
  • English (Dolby Digital 5.1)
  • Subtitles: English

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.::THE FILM::.

The Cry of the Owl is based upon the 1962 novel of the same title by Patricia Highsmith, best known for her Tom Ripley novels which a few had been adapted into feature films played by a variety of actors (including Matt Damon, John Malkovich and Barry Pepper).

Plot: Obsession, betrayal, suspicion and murder. Robert Forrester (PADDY CONSIDINE) is a soon-to-be divorced loner who has been stalking a young woman named Jenny (JULIA STILES), standing in the woods, staring at her as she cooks or does other kitchen chores. He does this on most nights parking his car on a road, trekking through the forest and just stares until one day she catches him. But rather than running inside and calling the police, for some strange reason she, after an odd back-and-forth conversation, invites him inside. The reason for her invite was because of her belief in fate and that he was there for a reason. He doesnít entirely buy this and after a story from her childhood and such, he leaves vowing never to return.

But it doesnít end when for some reason Jenny shows up outside of Robertís workplace and soon a strange relationship develops between the two, much to the surprise of Jennyís friends and disgust of Jennyís boyfriend, Greg (JAMES GILBERT), who she broke up with to be with Robert. Greg, being the hothead he is, targets Robert and a fight ensues on a river bank. After Greg gets some punches in, Robert gets lucky as Greg goes plunging into the river. Being a decent guy, Robert saves Greg, now knocked out, from drowning and leaves him, though drowsy, alive on the bank.

Things take a turn, however, when Greg goes missing and suspicion by the police and eventually Jenny when she sees Robertís temper get out of control, go onto Robert believing he killed Greg, but without a body and hard evidence, heís allowed to go free. Other things are swirling around on Robert aside from the investigation. While he had a crush on Jenny from afar, up close he wants to get away and seizes an opportunity at his company for a promotion and transfer to another city; which gets jeopardized thanks to Gregís disappearance.

The Cry of the Owl is well acted movie for sure, especially on Paddy Considineís part as he must carry the entire film as Julia Stiles, who is good in her own right, is very much a supporting character, an eerily and quietly disturbed one for sure, but the focus is on Considineís Robert character, who is also disturbed.

Most will remember Paddy Considine from a small part but important role in The Bourne Ultimatum but had appearances in various other films from Cinderella Man to Hot Fuzz, a wide ranging career and with Owl, he displays an interesting dynamic between a dark individual with issues and a lonely soul who takes abuse from others, especially an ex-wife who plays with his emotions. In some cases, this type of character would be more sad and even at times comedic than dramatic, and that is thanks to Considineís performance.

However, for as deep as the story does go beyond obsession and with these characters, I thought the pacing was a bit off, so much that I found portions of the film to be a tad slow and even boring to the point of falling asleep. Now, the movie does manage to pick things up near the third act for a finale that is one of the better endings, in a drama anyway, that Iíve seen in a while; one that sums up the entire film quite nicely.

The movie was adapted and directed by Jamie Thraves who directs her first feature-length film in nearly a decade (last one being The Low Down in 2000).


Only thing here are previews for other titles.


The Cry of the Owl is presented in anamorphic widescreen and a 2.35 aspect ratio. This isnít a pleasant looking film and Iím sure this was done on purpose as a good portion, even during the daylight scenes, were fairly dark and night scenes were even darker, so I canít really say how good this looks as this was the directorís intentions. What I can say is the film is free of any obvious flaws like scratches or dirt so itís a decent looking video on DVD.

The Dolby Digital 5.1 track is similarly good, though nothing exceptional by DVD standards. I gave it a slightly better rating since Jeff Dannaís haunting score comes across quite nicely throughout the film while dialogue was clear and easy to understand with none of the muffling that sometimes can occur with lower-budgeted films (heck, can still happen with $100 million movies; re: Batman Forever). In any case, thereís not a whole lot to go on outside of a couple thrilling scenes one involving a fight and another, a gunshot, otherwise this isnít going to test your system by any stretch.


Overall, The Cry of the Owl never quite reaches the level I had expected but Paddy Considineís performance is well worth the price of a 3-day rental while the story is just interesting enough to get you from the beginning to the end. The DVD, however, doesnít have a whole lot to offer. There are no features and neither the video nor the audio are anything special.