Study Questions for Panic Room (David Fincher, 2002)
How does the opening title sequence of the film, which depicts Manhattan, help us understand the film thematically? You may like to think about the setting, the music and the camera movements.
Comment on the significance of the references to Edgar Allan Poe. How do they help us understand the film?
In the early moments of the film Fincher’s camera gives us a tour of the house. In what ways do the physical characteristics of the house prepare us for the story? How does Fincher’s camerawork contribute to our understanding of the film in these early scenes?
What do you think about the color palette of “Panic Room”? How does it contribute to our understanding of the story?
Could Meg and Sarah’s surname, “Altman”, be symbolic? Why? Why not?
In what ways do you think “Panic Room” might satirize modern urban living and domestic space?
In what ways can the panic room in the film be interpreted as a metaphor? Does the meaning of the panic room as a metaphor remain the same throughout the film? Why? Why not? Discuss this with examples from the film.
What might “Panic Room” be telling us about 9/11?
In what ways would you take the panic room to symbolise a maternal womb? Please explain with references to specific scenes and events in the film.
David Fincher’s “Panic Room” can be said to demonstrate a contest between the sexes. Discuss this in relation to some specific scenes and locations in the film?
Comment on what the film might be telling us about the concept of technology in our lives.
* Fear on the footsteps of comedy: Childhood and paranoia in contemporary American cinema by Jyotsna Kpur. Visual Anthropology, 22:44-51, 2009.
* The room to panic: An example of film criticism and housing research by Peter King. Housing, Theory and Society, 21:27-35, 2004.
Movie stills: Columbia Pictures