Hidden – give it a miss

Warning – spoilers ahead…

I went and saw the movie Hidden the other night. I wouldn’t recommend it…

A strong ending would have made up for the very slow pace of the film, with some interminably long static shots, that initially I thought were interesting, but quickly tired of.

The plot does eventually start to pick up some steam, with one particularly shocking and unexpected scene that had the whole theatre gasping. But the writers and director then seem to not know where to take the ending, and we’re left at the end wondering “what did we miss?”

I’ve since crawled through some of the discussions on the ever helpful IMDB, only to find that I didn’t miss anything. That the ending was what it was – and that was disappointing.

Now, don’t get me wrong – I don’t need my movies bundled up and tidy at the end. Some of the best films I’ve seen have left things “up in the air” to great effect, leaving you wondering and thinking. But if that was the intention with this film, for some reason it doesn’t hit the mark, instead it left me frustrated and annoyed.

When I found out that the director had deliberately left out dialogue at the end, it made me even more annoyed – because of the implausibility of two bit-part characters having anything to do with the main event.

It seems as though the director and screenwriter, with no idea how to devise a cracking ending, just threw their hands up in the air and went “Meh – whatever. Let’s just leave it like that and let them figure it out.”

I’d give it 2.5/5 – with a strong ending, it would have been a lot higher.

  • No, no, no, no, no, no. I can’t disagree more about Hidden. Yes, that one shocking scene gives you a jolt that you just don’t recover from, but I found the ending very powerful. (Trying not to give anything away here). The two have clearly talked before – what secrets have been shared? How does it relate to the relationship troubles the families are having? Is it a form of reconciliation in the next generation or is it something sinister?

    Sure these are all unanswered questions, but I found myself thinking through all these possibilities on the strength of the movie.

    I found it gripping the whole way through and – through that prism of the ‘family under threat’ thriller – raised disturbing questions about racism, political violence, imperialism & colonialism, without being heavy handed about these themes. (I also loved the long static shots and the way the movie made it hard to work out what was ‘filmed’ and what was ‘real’.)

    I’m giving it 4.5/5

  • Thanks Ben. I suspect that neither of us are alone in our views 😉 I think it’s the type of film that would be quite polarising.

    The friend who I saw the movie with was much more open to the ending – in fact wanted to watch it again to see what else he could pick up. However, there are just too many holes in the idea that the two kids were in kahoots on something sinister. It tries to make the connection that Pierrot is somehow involved, but it just doesn’t add up.

    And the camera being in the street without them seeing it – I mean, come on. If you were being stalked, you’d think you’d be on the lookout and notice it. The theory mentioned on IMDB that the film-maker is the voyeur makes more sense to me – and has some artistic value. But it is just too big a stretch in my view that the kids were responsible.

    Maybe they were just friends through school? You never see the parents and kids together. It could possibly be a complete coincidence. There’s not enough to tie them together in the act to make me think about it too heavily. And that’s the problem. If the plot had drawn the two together in some other way, or even hinted at the connection somewhere else in the movie, I might think differently.

    In the end I agree with Andrew L. Urban’s view: “It seems fairly clear who is responsible for the trauma that creates the setting for the events that take place, but the ending delivers less than we expect or want.”

    I take that to mean that Georges has some irredeemable traits that caused the friction. But the answer to the “who dunnit” is left quite unclear.

    In films like Memento and Primer the ambiguities are compelling to me, but for some reason this film just doesn’t have the same effect for me.

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts 🙂

    Regards, Grant

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