Tribeca Film Festival 2021: See For Me (2021) – Film Review
When blind former skier Sophie cat-sits in a secluded mansion, three thieves invade for the hidden safe. Sophie’s only defense is an app called See For Me, controlled by army veteran Kelly. Kelly makes it her mission to help Sophie defend herself against the invaders and survive the night.
The central premise is similar to the 1967 Audrey Hepburn film Wait Until Dark. In which a blind woman who is threatened by three criminals searching for a valuable object in her apartment.
What writers Adam Yorke & Tommy Gushue and director Randall Okita do is give it a 21st century technological update. Also drawing inspiration from David Fincher’s underrated Panic Room.
With any film that primarily takes place in one setting, it is all about “location, location, location”. The house is isolated, sleek in design and vast in scope. As it is a new job for Sophie, it allows her to explore the house to get her bearings. Thus providing the audience with a detailed tour as well. Getting used to the layout whilst familiarising ourselves with emergency exits, hiding places, etc.
Skyler Davenport gives a spirited turn as Sophie. Not only does she do an excellent job of convincing us she is blind. Strong and fiercely independent yet underneath lies a pool of self-loathing and anger at her situation. Her frustration at needing to using the “all seeing eye” app is palpable when she initially locks herself out of the house by mistake. However once she discovers the intruders, that bravado and front dissipates to reveal a scared young woman.This multi-layered performance allows for plenty of narrative twists and turns down the road. There is more to her than meets the eye, pardon the pun, and makes for a fascinating protagonist.
When introduced to See For Me controller Kelly she is channelling her energy into first person shooter games (a skill that will come in handy with Sophie as the avatar). With the one on the inside, one on the outside dynamic, Sophie and Kelly’s burgeoning relationship feels akin to John McClane and Al Powell in Die Hard. It is a shame that Kelly’s backstory (on administrative leave from the Army) is not given much screentime as this would have created a deeper connection between the characters and the audience.
As as result, backstory and character development are sacrificed in favour of thrills and keeping the tight plot moving forward at pace. This goes for the villains as well who fall into traditional stereotypes (the calm one, the nerdy one, the psychotic one).
It may feel shallow at times but conversely this means the film is not treading water. This is not a case of blind ambition. See For Me embraces its genre roots and delivers on a promise of thrills, spills and kills.
Director: Randall Okita
Stars: Skyler Davenport, Kim Coates, Jessica Parker Kennedy
Runtime: 103 minutes