Over the last five decades, Australian director Phillip Noyce has shown that he really knows how to handle the thriller genre. Noyce first captured international attention with the acclaimed 1989 film Dead Calm. Starring Sam Neill, Nicole Kidman and Billy Zane, the film is a close quarters thriller which still works incredibly well more than 30 years after it was first released.
The success of Dead Calm brought Noyce to Hollywood, where he directed Rutger Hauer in the fun action film Blind Fury, a film which helped Noyce land the directing gig on Patriot Games, the Tom Clancy adaptation which saw Harrison Ford replace Alec Baldwin in the role of Jack Ryan. Noyce followed the film up with the Sharon Stone thriller, Sliver before once again returning to the world of political intrigue in Clear and Present Danger – finest film in the Jack Ryan film series.
Noyce would go on to helm a slew of other key films starring a variety of big stars. These included The Saint with Val Kilmer and Elizabeth Shue, The Bone Collector with Denzel Washington and Angelina Jolie, The Quiet American starring Michael Caine and Brendan Fraser and The Giver with Jeff Bridges and Meryl Streep.
Phillip Noyce’s latest film is the tense real-time thriller, The Desperate Hour starring Naomi Watts. It’s an expertly handled thriller, tense and well executed with an impressive performance from Watts – who pretty much shoulders the majority of the film’s running time on her own. Watts plays a mother attempting to save her son in the wake of a high school shooting and the film unfolds in unexpected ways as the tension gets ratcheted -up towards the finale.
Phillip Noyce joined the Movies In Focus podcast to discuss The Desperate Hour and the logistics of making a film which essentially features Naomi Watts and her trusty iPhone. Noyce covers all the questions that you’d have about the film and we even touch on his next directorial effort, Fast Charlie starring Pierce Brosnan.
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