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The Night Listener
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The Night Listener (2006)

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Plot Summary:
"In the midst of his crumbling relationship, a radio show host begins speaking to his biggest fan, a young boy, via the telephone. But when questions about the boy's identity come up, the host's life is thrown into chaos."

Review by
Phil Davies Brown
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Review Date: 03 November 2006 My Rating: out of 5


Robin Williams stars as Gabriel Noone, a gay radio host who is given a manuscript by a friend. The book was written by a 14 year old boy named Pete Logand, who is dying of Aids and recounts how his illness came to be. The manuscript recounts a harrowing tale of sexual abuse by his parents and their paedophile friends.

Gabriel befriends the boy and his step mother Donna, carrying out a phone relationship with the two, but becomes suspicious when his partner Jess notes that the voices of Donna and Pete sound remarkably similar. Gabriel sets out to discover if Pete Logand really exists or if Donna is up to something far more sinister.

The film has at its core an excellent cast and a wonderfully intriguing central idea. Williams is once again excellent in a serious role, but still manages to be wholeheartedly funny (as he appears to be in real-life) as he takes on the role of a gay radio host with a much younger boyfriend played by Bobby Cannavale. Toni Collette is once again superb here as the suspicious Donna. The cast is ably supported by Sandra Oh and Rory Culkin.

For the most part, it’s well paced and is genuinely intriguing throughout as Gabriel uncovers more and more suspicious evidence against Donna.

By the time the film climaxed however, I felt greatly let down as it tried to wrap up too much in one fell swoop, but perhaps the fact that this is based on a real-life unsolved mystery, meant that a conventional and resolute ending was not required here.

The film is another fine indie release this year but I wouldn’t worry too much about catching it at the cinema. Those of you unable to catch the film during its theatrical release will enjoy it one dark winter’s night when it hits DVD.

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