ChildCare Action Project (CAP): Christian Analysis of American Culture


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Entertainment Media Analysis Report
A service to our youth through you,
their parents and grandparents, in His name by His Word

Panic Room (2002), R
Analysis Date: April 3, 2002
CAP Score: 42
MinMax: -91
CAP Influence Density: 3.56

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NOTE: If you do not want the plot, ending, or "secrets" of a movie spoiled for you, skip the Summary/Commentary. In any case, be sure to visit the Findings/Scoring section -- it is completely objective to His Word and is the heart of the CAP Entertainment Media Analysis Model applied to this movie.


If Scriptural references appear, the full text appears at the end of the Summary / Commentary likely using a mix of KJV and NIV.

PANIC ROOM (R) -- ...why must it be told at all?.

Distributed by: Columbia Pictures
Director(s): David Fincher
Producer(s): Ceán Chaffin, John S. Dorsey, Judy Hofflund, David Koepp, Gavin Polone
Written by/Screenplay: David Koepp
Cinematography/Camera: Conrad W. Hall, Darius Khondji
Music: Howard Shore
Editing: Jim Haygood, Angus Wall

Panic Room will probably get some of the highest kudos of 2002. And in many ways it earned them. Some of the finest performances were provided under some of the finest choreography and camera work available. But some of the worst programming. Granted, a story like this could not be told without some evil and vulgarity, but why must it be told at all? Is it an example of thinking on good things? [Phil. 4:8] Why is it that entertainment must be vile and invasive? Why must a stirring feature plant aberrant behavioral templates not to mention the sins of those demonstrating sinful behavior?

After a few minutes of clever but dry and sarcastic humor between showing realtors, recently divorced Meg Altman (Jodie Foster) and her diabetic daughter, Sarah (Kristen Stewart) move into a swank upper west side Manhattan home. Something they can certainly afford since her ex, Stephan (Patrick Bauchau) is a multimillionaire in pharmaceuticals. And something else indeed was the home. Hardwood floors through out. Six working fireplaces. And a panic room.

The panic room was a secure room with poured concrete walls, three inch steel plates, an independent air system as well as an independent phone system. And a closed circuit TV camera for just about every corner in the house. And the door was heavier than a bank vault door.Sarah said in her quite arrogant manner, "My room. Definitely my room!" It seems the previous owner was into personal security. And for a good reason. Remember I said the door to the panic room was heavier than a bank vault door? Well, there is good reason for it to be so invulnerable. There is $22 million in that panic room, which was the reason three bad guys broke into the home.

Gentle but criminal Burnham (Forest Whitaker) worked for the company that built that very panic room, which appeared to be quite the rage in the upper west side of Manhattan. Burnham knew every nook and cranny of the room since he built it. And he knew there was no way to get through the walls, floor or ceiling. The only way into that room was the door. The door could be opened only if whoever was in the room opened it. And Meg was not about to do that.

Burnham, with his two cohorts, Junior (Jared Leto), and Raoul (Dwight Yoakam) thought the house was still empty and would not be inhabited for another week. The brilliance of the mentality of Junior confused the business week with the calendar week. Lo and behold, the turgid trio broke into an occupied house. Meg and Sarah quickly took advantage of the panic room. Sarah got her wish for the next few hours.

Here is where the edge-of-your-seat suspense begins. The quarrelsome bandits try "every trick in the book" to get into that room. After failing every attempt, cat-n-mouse turns in the plot end up with Meg outside the room and Burnham and Raoul in the room with $22 million ... and Sarah. The movie keeps up the suspense for about 80 minutes. And it keeps up the foul language and violence for the same period. Sixty-eight uses of the most foul of the foul words, four of them by 12 or 13 year old Sarah -- with "mom's" approval no less [Ps. 12:8, Eph. 5:4, Col. 3:8, Luke 17:2]. Such a sinematic camaraderie is sure to become a behavioral template for many early teens, whether intentional or not: "She gets to say those words. Why can't I, mom?" Whether vocal, I'll bet the thought is there for many preteens and early teens who see this movie, whether with permission of not [1 Cor. 15:33]. Thirty-one uses of the rest of the three/four letter word vocabulary [Prov. 17:20]. God's name in vain both with and without the four letter expletive [Deut. 5:11]. And Jodie Foster is not embarrassed by how much cleavage she shows [Isa. 2:17]. There is, of course, much more ignominy to this R-rated show, but I am going to leave that to the main purpose of these CAP Entertainment Media Analysis reports -- the listing in the Findings/Scoring section, the heart of the CAP analysis model.


If needed to focus or fortify, applicable text is underlined or bracketed [ ]. If you wish to have full context available, the Blue Letter Bible is a convenient source. If you use the Blue Letter Bible, a new window will open. Close it to return here or use "Window" in your browser's menu bar to alternate between the CAP page and the Blue Letter Bible page.

  • Phil. 4:8 Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.
  • Ps. 12:8 The wicked freely strut about [e.g., create progressively extreme vulgar and vile entertainment with impunity and no consequences] when what is vile is honored among men [when enough people continue to defend it, embrace it, pay for it, enjoy it].
  • Eph. 5:4 Nor should there be obscenity, foolish talk or coarse joking, which are out of place, but rather thanksgiving. [I call attention to Ps. 12:8 and Eph. 5:4 to warn of the creeping desensitizing power of this sort of "entertainment" and just to let you know that God knows about "vulgar" and "obscene."]
  • Col. 3:8 But now you must rid yourselves of all such things as these: anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language from your lips.
  • Prov. 17:20 He that hath a froward [iqqesh {ik-kashe'}:twisted, distorted, crooked, perverse, perverted] heart findeth no good: and he that hath a perverse [haphak {haw-fak'}: to turn, overthrow, overturn; obstinate in opposing the norm or the accepted] tongue [lashown {law-shone'}: language] falleth into mischief.
  • Deut. 5:11 You shall not misuse the name of the LORD your God, for the LORD will not hold anyone guiltless who misuses his name.
  • Isa. 2:17 The arrogance of man will be brought low...

    *******Food for Thought*******
  • 1 Cor. 15:33 (KJV) Be not deceived: evil communications corrupt good manners. (NIV) Do not be misled: Bad company corrupts good character.
  • Jude 4 For certain men* whose condemnation was written about long ago have secretly slipped in among you. They are godless men, who change the grace of our God into a license for immorality and deny Jesus Christ our only Sovereign and Lord. [*men: anthropos {anth'-ro-pos}, generic, a human being, whether male or female]
  • Matt. 25:40 And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto [or for] one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto [or for] me.
  • Luke 17:2 It would be better for him to be thrown into the sea with a millstone tied around his neck than for him to cause one of these little ones to sin. [cause by teaching or example]
  • Ps. 119:133 Direct my footsteps according to your word; let no sin rule over me.
  • John 14:15 If ye love me, keep my commandments.
  • 1 Thess. 5:22 Abstain from all appearance of evil.

    As always, it is best to refer to the Findings/Scoring section -- the heart of the CAP analysis model -- for the most complete assessment possible of this movie.

    Panic Room (2002) CAP Thermometers

    Wanton Violence/Crime (W):
  • peeping
  • trespassing
  • breaking and entering, three counts
  • stalking, chasing to illegally capture, several times
  • firearm
  • hostages, two, several ways for a long time
  • threats to kill, some of an adolescent girl to her face
  • attempted control by gassing (much like the Holocaust)
  • burn injuries
  • gunfire threats, some to the face
  • physical, brutal assault with injuries
  • many other assaults (kicking, beating, striking, etc.)
  • endangerments, including of a child
  • finger crushing injury
  • severe beating injuries, repeatedly
  • dead body, repeatedly
  • using child as a shield
  • planning murder of two, including a child
  • gunfire to kill, repeatedly
  • assault to kill
  • graphic gunfire killing
  • fist to child's face
  • graphic injuries

    Impudence/Hate (I)(1):
  • 68 uses of the most foul of the foul words
  • 31 uses of the rest of the three/four letter word vocabulary
  • daughter's arrogance against mother's authority, repeatedly
  • parent encouraging rebellion in child

    Sex/Homosexuality (S):
  • woman in tub
  • woman on commode with sounds
  • vulgar gesture
  • excessive cleavage, repeatedly

    Drugs/Alcohol (D):
  • booze, repeatedly
  • drinking, repeatedly
  • smoking

    Offense to God (O)(2):
  • four uses of God's name in vain with the four letter expletive and seven without

    Murder/Suicide (M)(3):
  • gunfire murder to silence

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    NOTE: The CAP Analysis Model makes no scoring allowances for trumped-up "messages" to excuse or for manufacturing of justification for aberrant behavior or imagery, or for camouflaging such ignominy with "redeeming" programming. Disguising sinful behavior in a theme plot does not excuse the sinful behavior of either the one who is drawing pleasure or example from the sinful display or the practitioners demonstrating the sinful behavior. This is NOT a movie review service. It is a movie analysis service to parents and grandparents to tell them the truth about movies using the Truth.

    "There are some in the entertainment industry who maintain that 1) violent programming is harmless because no studies exist that prove a connection between violent entertainment and aggressive behavior in children, and 2) young people know that television, movies, and video games are simply fantasy. Unfortunately, they are wrong on both accounts." And "Viewing violence may lead to real life violence." I applaud these associations for fortifying 1 Cor. 15:33. Read the rest of the story. From our nearly seven years of study, I contend that other aberrant behaviors, attitudes, and expressions can be inserted in place of "violence" in that statement. Our Director - Child Psychology Support, a licensed psychologist and certified school psychologist concurs. For example, "Viewing arrogance against fair authority may lead to your kids defying you in real life." Or "Viewing sex may lead to sex in real life." Likewise and especially with impudence, hate and foul language. I further contend that any positive behavior can be inserted in place of "violence" with the same chance or likelihood of being a behavior template for the observer; of being incorporated into the behavior mechanics and/or coping skills of the observer. In choosing your entertainment, please consider carefully the "rest of the story" and our findings.

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    (1) As noted in CAP Special Report-001, "Investigation Area and Scoring Trend," of the six CAP Investigation Areas, Impudence/Hate was the strongest presence in all four movie classifications. It has a strong revelation about the entertainment media.

    (2) The use of the three/four letter word vocabulary without God's name in vain is incorporated into the Impudence/Hate Investigation Area. The use of God's name with or without the four letter expletive is incorporated into the Offense to God Investigation Area. There is no duplication.

    (3) Only portrayal of successful murder or suicide are incorporated into Murder/Suicide. Portrayal of attempts to commit murder or suicide and deaths by police action or war are incorporated into Wanton Violence/Crime.

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