Old-fashioned NYPD detective Charlie Daines, a grave long cancer sufferer, feels out of his depth when as serial killer posts his gruesomely imaginative murders, mostly on top managers, on Internet, first spotted by his couch-potato son Vinnie. The brass rather confides the high-profile case to 'nerds', champion of whom is wheelchair-stuck Adam Sotrel. Charlie systematically alienates everybody, family and colleagues, but finds an angle to approach the case. Written by
I was kind of surprised to find a straight to video police thriller by a mainstream director, John Irvin, and starring a mainstream actor, Armand Assante. What didn't surprise me at all was its weak disjointed story with very little sense guiding the cops' actions in finding the killer.
A couple things were done alright. The locations of the crimes (which are all shown live on the internet, hence the title) are always cool derelict industrial settings. None of them are used to very good effect, but they are good locations. Armand Assante brings a lot to the unfortunately underwritten role of the morphine addict detective. The sad part is that this addiction was a lazy screenwriter's device to take the place of character development, punctuate almost every scene (Assante faithfully coughs away any plot-related dialogue), and generate "suspense" in later scenes. Although, the dimension of his character, as a supposedly obsolete detective matching wits with a high-tech criminal, is still a good idea.
The identity of the killer is not very hard to guess. In fact the central plot of the picture is a bleeding cliché, surrounded by the window dressing of would-be character development, seemingly as a distraction. This was obviously a low budget picture, but it wasn't the budget that holds the movie back from its potential, it's the weak script and the failure on the part of the director, cinematographer, editor, to create a harmoniously atmospheric thriller out of this routine cop-vs-bad-guy movie.
"Dot.Kill" is pretty obviously trying to do some of what "Se7en" did so well and that "Fear dot com" tried to do. However, it just doesn't have the same freshness that "Se7en" had (and really hasn't lost) nor does it have the atmosphere and aesthetic grace. I can't say I'm surprised, but I'm always upset when I see missed potential. Just go watch any David Fincher movie instead.
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