Alone with Her is a film that came out of nowhere. On the surface, it plays like a publicity stunt in that the entire movie has been filmed with hidden cameras, or been given a look to seem like it was filmed with hidden cameras. At about 5 minutes in I think that one will realize that the medium is the least important thing about this movie. It's message and subject matter are such that I think two like minded people could go see the film, and both of them could have very different reactions. Clocking in at 78 minutes, Eric Nicholas has crafted a movie that turns the entire audience into voyeurs without calling attention to the fact that he has done just that. In stripping this movie of much cinematic artifice, Alone with Her is an unabashed, guilty pleasure of an offering, that also happens to be on of the best films of a nascent 2007.
Doug (Colin Hanks, who has already passed his father in terms of interesting roles), is a stalker who almost seems like he can't exist without his camera. Once he sets his sights on Amy (Ana Claudia Talancon) things progress with him watching her, getting her routine down, and then controlling the situation enough so that he can meet her. Most guys would give their eyeteeth to be with a girl like Amy, but Doug takes all the guesswork out of it by always being able to see her and know what she is thinking and doing. Having just got out of relationship, she is lonely and Doug's advances are harmless enough. He uses the information he has gleaned from watching her to make it seem like they have a lot in common. Well, a girl like Amy will never be wanting for companionship (even if it's not the companion she wants), and when she starts seeing someone else it doesn't take Doug long to sabotage it. Eventually, Doug meets Amy's best friend, and right away she can tell that there's something weird about him. As Doug is helping Amy with her art career, Amy is reticent to agree. In the end, though some false notes are struck, Doug gets what he wants but we aren't sure if this is how he wanted it at all.
Colin Hanks seems to have "uglied" up a bit for this role. In either case, I think it was very smart for him to play a part where he is the main character, but we only see the story through his eyes and thus that's the only way we see him. Relationship films (yes, I'd call Alone with Her that), lend themselves to a certain degree of ambiguity, and Hanks plays this role in the way we imagine a pained person such as Doug would behave. We never find out how Doug makes his money or is able to spend his time only watching monitors, or following people with video cameras and a "body cam." However, none of this is as important as what his ultimately objectives are which we as audience members don't even fully know.
Ana Claudia Talancon plays Amy perfectly. She's good looking enough to be very aware of the power she has over people, however at the same time, she is also nice and bit naive. While I don't know how much I buy what she does at the end, I will say that she is very believable in being this type of person. She never means to hurt Doug, yet she can't help but being a little defensive and creeped out by him. At the same time, she takes everything that he says at face value, when her friend, after only being around him a short while, knows that not everything is as it seems with this character. This is a minor problem as Talancon gets so much right about who this character is, and what she would want from the person she chooses to be with.
Alone with Her is the kind of movie that is meant to get people talking. It looks at technology, how it is employed, and how easy it is to do what Doug does in this movie. At the same time, it moves past the cerebral to the core of human emotions. As out of step as Doug is, as off kilter and socially awkward as Hanks plays him, there is something universal about the character. Who he is is almost understandable, simply because he seems to do everything he can to reach out through his camera lens and make a connection, yet he never realizes that he is the one getting in the way of himself.