I've said it before, Robin William in the right role is magic.
One Hour Photo?
Well, we all know there is no such thing as magic...
His performance in The Night Listener is somewhere in between those flicks on the Is This A Magical Performance? continuum.
Williams plays Gabriel Noone, a nationally syndicated late-night radio host who begins a telephone friendship with Pete Logand, played wonderfully by the most talented of the Culkins, Rory. Pete weaves a story for Noone that is complex and compelling about his tragic childhood, his terminal illness and his loving foster mother, Donna. Noone becomes a bit fixated on the kid and his story. He's going through his own personal crisis, you see, and being needed by the kid is highly motivating.
Noone ultimately abandons reason and travels to Wisconsin to visit Pete in person. What Noone discovers there is the foundation for what producers hoped would be a psychological thriller. They succeeded in part:
It is disturbing, and it is dark. It's even a bit Hitchcock-ian.
It's just not thrilling.
The Night Listener is a better-than-average flick. The acting is above par--co-star Toni Collettee is close to brilliant in her role--and the dialogue is well written. But, the story itself lacks something.
It lacks magic.