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If you like serial killer films that like to tax your brain, you should
probably give this movie a look (exactly the reasoning I was following when
I picked this up at a video store). Chances are, you'll be entertained by
what you see. Just don't expect this one to be a nailbiter like Silence of
the Lambs or Se7en. This one comes across as more than a little forced, at
times, something that can't be levelled against those two superior
The plot setup is as follows. A forensic psychologist (whom we get to see in action in an unrelated case, as an introduction), Dr. Alex Cross (played by Morgan Freeman), is placed in a personal position when his niece disappears, among 8 other women -- two of which are soon found dead in a forest, clearly brutally raped earlier. Cross, a clever guy, soon determines that the other six are probably alive out there somewhere, including his niece. Meanwhile, a young doctor named Kate (Ashley Judd) is herself captured by the rapist/murder/etc. (we see the events unfolding from her perspective). She, however, manages to escape. Dr. Cross and she then try to solve the case, so that Cross's niece may be rescued.
From here on, we get standard cop thriller fare -- and I'm not saying that as a bad thing, as such stories, when well crafted, are inherently interesting -- with a clear bond (not a romantic one) forming between Cross and Kate. Of course, plot twists abound (you get plenty of surprises about who the killer might be), until the inevitable (and a bit predictable) violent conclusion. Of course, the serial killer seems to be pretty kinky (an important element for a film like this); his depravity is, unfortunately (or fortunately?) never fully fleshed out.
Through it all, Morgan Freeman does an admirable job. You feel the weight of his intellect and emotion, as he goes about this personal case, even when the script doesn't project this weight itself. It's fascinating to see a professional transcend this material so easily. Freeman makes this film, 100% -- he's not only realistic but also heavily charismatic (without seeming forced, as Al Pacino on late-career-autopilot seems to be). Ashley Judd does a good job, as does the supporting cast (well... the serial killer isn't that great...), though a certain scene where she emotionally tells her story to Cross is way forced.
There are times, however, when great acting just can't make up for a mechanical script. It's not that the plot is bad itself, it's that it's exposed somewhat mundanely. It seems as though whenever a plot point is determined by the characters, they dwell on it for a bit, until it becomes uninteresting, and then the next plot point is delivered to us. The method of delivery never seems to flow out of the film's preceding movement, and often defies common sense (why would a psychologist be able to pick up a medical reference and easily pick out the drug used on a victim, when the actual medical doctors could not? it's possible but seems a bit too convenient).
The film's handling of the script is good. It looks good, and sounds good (in 5.1 surround). I still couldn't help but notice that all the tricks one normally sees that are supposed to increase tension and drama are used in this film, too, even when the script just doesn't provide the same tension and drama. (For instance, when Freeman makes a solemn pronouncement about some trait of the killer he randomly decided on, because he's so good.) When this happens, it feels like the movie is going through the motions (no matter how hard it tries, it's just not as hard-hitting or dark as, say, Se7en). Often enough, though, the cinematographer's and director's work fits the screenplay perfectly, especially during the action at the end. The experienced movie goer, however, will probably detect a moment of randomness (watch the camera work during the bar scene with the three detectives, after Jeremy Piven asks Ashley Judd to stay still) -- I'm probably nitpicking here.
Well, there you go. It's a good movie, but quite cliched, and too often it just doesn't feel right. But if you use it to admire Morgan Freeman's work, you will be entertained. 6/10
This suspense thriller is every bit as good as James Patterson's fine novel and has great chemistry between Morgan Freeman and Ashley Judd. The sole plot is Freeman's search for two serial kidnappers and killers who snatch beautiful and accomplished young women, including Freeman's niece. The two killers try to outdo each other as they seize and destroy their trophy captives. As with most mysteries, this one has the usual red herrings, false leads and dead ends. Freeman is excellent as Alex Cross and heroine Judd is a study in grit and survival and is very effective in a finely nuanced role. The supporting cast is also great in a movie that has a leisurely pace and several great action scenes as it peaks towards its conclusion. The North Carolina location lensing, music score and cinematography are all very good.
A serial killer is collecting strong and attractive young women. He is also
attracted to their talents and wisdom. It may be that he is holding his
living trophies in underground cells. It may be that he is stalking on both
coasts; in South Carolina and in California. Does this diabolical deranged
man have a partner in crime; or does he have a copy cat competing with
One of the victims manages to get away. The lovely Ashley Judd is a doctor that studies kick boxing for a hobby. She ends up helping Morgan Freeman, who plays a forensic psychologist and special criminal investigator. Judd and Morgan work very well together and make the sleuthing as tense as holding forty bumble bees in a soup can. The scenes in the woods brings anxiety to a boiling point.
If you liked BONE COLLECTOR or just a fan of chilling, action mysteries; this will not disappoint you. Also in the cast are: Cary Elwes, Roma Maffia and Alex McArthur.
This movie is not among the best but still has more to offer than the
average thriller. This is mostly due to its cast and fine thriller
concept, that however doesn't always gets handled well.
Not all plot-lines get handled and wrapped up properly and the movie leaves some loose ends. The movie also picks some not so likely approaches with each story sometimes, which goes at the expensive of the credibility- and therefore also the tension of the movie.
It's a movie that had the potential of becoming a real dark and eerie thriller, I mean the concept of the movie would definitely allow this but the movie gets somewhere stuck between its successful and not so successful thriller moments.
Guess Morgan Freeman wanted to make another "Se7en" like thriller. Well, it's not completely fair to compare this movie to "Se7en" but because Morgan Freeman is in it and it's from about the same period, it's easy and tempting to do so. Also with some imagination the plots and approaches of both movies show some similarities. But unfortunately "Kiss the Girls" is nowhere in the same league as "Se7en" but fans of the genre will still find plenty to enjoy in this movie.
The movie features all of the right required thriller ingredients. So a psychopath, a cop trying to solve the case and of course a couple of plot twists. It also has all the right looks for a thriller. The movie has the right sort of dark undertone and handles some of its moments effectively.
The movie truly benefits from its cast. Morgan Freeman is an experienced actor and always good in these sort of roles. The movie also among other features; Ashley Judd, Cary Elwes, Bill Nunn, Brian Cox and Jeremy Piven.
A better than average thriller.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
With established stars that I like - Morgan Freeman and Ashley Judd -
and a different story angle (two killers operating in tandem, one on
each coast) I keep thinking this thriller is better than what it is,
and each time I watch I am disappointed. After three viewings, I've
finally had enough. I should have quit while I was ahead.
I'm not particularly a proponent of "edgy" films but this needs more of an edge. It doesn't have it and it falls flat in too many spots. There also too many scenes that, if you analyze them, couldn't or simply wouldn't happen. These mount up after awhile and about 3/4ths of the way through this, you wonder why you're wasting two hours on a movie that SHOULD be better.
In all, it's a poor film for actors the quality of Freeman and Judd to be associated with, and a poor rendition from a fine, best-selling book. No wonder you get find this DVD for $5 at Wal-Mart. It is worth one look, but that's all.
Cary Elwes does an incredible job as Nick Ruskin. He acts with perfect emotion for every particular scene and brings a unique feel to the character portrayed in the book. Elwes does superb acting in this film, and really displays his range. After reading the novel, I was surprised by Freemans casting. He impressed me with his comittment to the character, however, during the film he seemed over-dramatic taking away from the realism of the story (what makes the film and novel so terrorizing). Ashley Judd played Kate McTieran well and portrayed Pattersons heroine with the courage and bravery expected. Where the movie falls short is in the script. The adaptation leaves out numerous key elements to the story. What makes the plot so riveting is the psychological trauma Cassanova and the Gentleman caller force onto their captives. With brief scenes portraying the womens captivity, they film takes away from the character development of the murderers and focuses too heavily on superfluous tidbits not necessary to the story. If you are seeking a true thriller, you may want to choose another movie. Although the film is entertaining and the acting decent, the novel is much better and the thriller genre is better utilized in other films.
Detective Alex Cross is an experienced, astute forensic psychologist. He's brought in to aid in the investigation of a slippery criminal mastermind with a track record for abducting young women who are both beautiful and talented. The case becomes personal for Cross when one of the women abducted is his niece, and he enlists the aid of local doctor and former victim Kate McTiernan (Judd) who escaped from the same perpetrator and is the only living person who can identify him. Stylish, atmospheric, well-crafted thriller has a story that holds your interest, with some effective twists and strong performances from Freeman and Judd, but it all builds to a climax that doesn't quite payoff. Still, a respectable showing for all those involved. **½
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Lets start with the positive - Morgan Freeman did a great acting job,
but that alone was not enough to save this film from the trash heap.
There are so many unbelievable elements to this film, I just don't know
where to start. Heres a few: Are we meant to believe that half a dozen
women are being held captive and the local police are doing nothing to
find them? The idea that Freeman and his buddy from Washington DC take
on the enquiry all on their own and don't tell anyone they are staking
out this suspect is daft. The real killer turns out to be a detective
working on the case - just how did he spend all the time with the girls
when he was also working full time on a murder enquiry? The murderer
has distinctive writing and sent Freeman a note which is so easy to
match up with the detective's handwriting it's just not believable!
Some tense moments in the film, but if you choose to watch this, be prepared to suspend disbelief!
Pretty good thriller. Lots of twists and turns to keep your attention. Great performances from Ashley Judd and Morgan Freeman. The story is Washington DC detective Dr. Alex Cross (Morgan Freeman) travels to North Carolina to investigate the apparent kidnapping of his niece (Gina Ravera). Aided by escaped kidnapee Kate McTiernan (Ashley Judd), Cross hunts down the kidnapper, who operates under the pseudonym "Cassanova". Pretty good watch, nice performance by casanova all up a good movie.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
What 'Kiss The Girls' has going for it mainly is Morgan Freeman. What's the old saying? He would be interesting reciting the phone book. Freeman has the kind of screen presence that other actors only dream of possessing. He is calm, reassuring, magnetic... he is wise without acting like a know-it-all; maturity and decency seem to radiate from him. It's interesting to ponder whether Freeman is really that good of an actor, or if he simply possesses an overdose of charisma, like Errol Flynn. In any event, he's the best thing about 'Kiss The Girls', a standard-issue sicko-on-the-loose-kidnapping-beautiful-women thriller. It's basically a rehash of 'Silence of the Lambs' without the Hannibal Lecter character. And without the style. Much is hinted at and some of the dialogue is explicit, but that's as far as 'Kiss The Girls' goes. Visually, it's really pretty dull. Good thing it has Morgan Freeman to aim the camera at. Ashley Judd plays the one who gets away, a kidnap victim who escapes the psycho's dungeon. (And it is literally a dungeon. No basement or shed. A real dungeon.) She is also a brilliant doctor. See, this sick creep likes to kidnap INTELLIGENT and INDEPENDENT women. No airheads for him. Unfortunately, this little twist in the usual plot provides no new ideas or fresh situations, unless you count Freeman's daughter playing the violin. Judd is adequate in the not-very-believable role; she strikes me as a female Keanu Reeves, something sort of android-ish about her. And good old Cary Elwes (warning- spoiler coming) is- surprise!- the psychotic kidnapper. Like we were going to believe he was a sincere, good old boy policeman. Poor Cary Elwes- he is really typecast. But I can see why. He just has that kind of face. 'Kiss The Girls' seems a lot like your typical TV-movie of the week; it's what the critics call an 'agreeable time-filler'... but it DOES have Morgan Freeman in it.
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