This is doubly impressive, given how stacked the deck is against the woman being stalked in Alone with Her, as Nicholas has constructed his film so that every single shot is from the lens of a camera either carried or worn by the stalker, or planted in the woman's apartment. Amy (Ana Claudia Talancón) is never seen from anybody's perspective but that of Doug (Colin Hanks), who first spots her in a park while he's out gathering footage of women. Once his lens locks onto her, it never leaves, circling in closer and closer. It isn't long before Doug has broken into Amy's apartment and hidden small cameras everywhere, all of them feeding continuously back to his computer. And so we watch as he creeps incrementally into her life, striking up a conversation at the coffee shop she frequents about a film he just saw (knowing that she had just rented it the night before). To Amy's eye, Doug's just a harmlessly cute and geeky guy who she happens to have surprisingly a lot in common with, and Nicholas builds the story so painstakingly that there are times when the audience is almost able to believe the same.
The viewer knows that as quiet as the film is for much of its early running time, this is all going somewhere bad. The stalker persona has been so thoroughly pored over in the tabloid and TV crime drama genres that the stage is set: Doug will form an intense, mostly imaginary, bond with Amy, she will disappoint him at some point, he will extract revenge. Given that, Nicholas is able to build a surprising amount of drama into his narrative, mostly due to a rather rigorously naturalistic approach to a sensationalistic story. He casts a Latina as the victim instead of the expected blonde, makes the stalker neither supernaturally brilliant nor a loathsome freak any sensible woman would recoil from. With maybe one exception -- the best friend who tries to warn Amy -- there are almost no stalker film tropes here to ensure success. Talancón and Hanks play their parts in an exceptionally low and realistic key, adding to the overall uncomfortable air of watching a depraved home movie.
Somehow, for all the voyeurism on display here, Nicholas never victimizes or exploits Amy, a feat almost unique given the kind of film this is. She never comes off as anything less than a normal young woman undeserving of any kind of punishment. If Nicholas can be accused of anything it's of catering to the paranoia of our age, telling us that in fact, yes, that guy in the café was being just a bit too nice. Watch out for him.
Night vision goggles on!
In Theaters: Friday 4th July 2008
Box Office Worldwide: $10 thousand
Budget: $1000 thousand
Distributed by: IFC First Take
Production compaines: Pin Hole Productions LLC, The Weinstein Company
Contactmusic.com: 3 / 5
Rotten Tomatoes: 69%
Fresh: 20 Rotten: 9
IMDB: 6.2 / 10
Director: Eric Nicholas
Screenwriter: Eric Nicholas
Starring: Colin Hanks as Doug, Ana Claudia Talancón as Amy (as Ana Claudia Talancon), Jordana Spiro as Jen, Jonathon Trent as Matt (as Jonathan Trent), Alex Boling as Barrista, Tony Armatrading as Cop (as Anthony Armatrading)