Two FBI agents attempt to clarify the murders occurring in a desolate region. They approach the witnesses of the latest incident with the help of the local police. All of them hide something and all have wildly different stories to tell.
Bob, a cab-driving serial killer who stalks his prey on the city streets alongside his reluctant protégé Tim, who must make a life or death choice between following in Bob's footsteps or breaking free from his captor.
Grisly murders occur in a small town. Two FBI agents arrive, set up their cameras in three interview rooms, and set up interviews of three survivors: a girl of about nine, a foul-mouthed cop with a bandaged hand, and a young woman of about 20 who uses drugs. Each tells their story as the male FBI agent listens and watches from a separate room: the girl draws for and talks to the female agent, the local chief interviews the injured cop, and two officers interview the young woman. As they tell their stories, some of which are inaccurate and self-serving, we see what actually happened the day before. Can the agents or anyone else put the pieces together? Written by
As if to demonstrate the old adage that "the apple doesn't fall far from the tree," director Jennifer Lynch gave the world in her belated sophomore effort, 2008's "Surveillance," a film just as disturbing as any in her father David's oeuvre. Her follow-up to 1993's "Boxing Helena," the film follows two very atypical FBI agents, portrayed by Bill Pullman and Julia Ormond, who are investigating a string of homicides in the plains of Nowheresville. (The picture was shot in the grasslands outside of Regina, Saskatchewan.) The pair interviews three salient witnesses: a young female coke addict (Pell James, who is excellent here), a local cop and an 8-year-old girl (Lynch elicits a wonderfully mature performance from young Ryan Simpkins). By the film's end, the conflicting accounts yield a somewhat clearer picture, before a twist ending really pulls the rug out from under the viewer. Indeed, this ending--a remarkably downbeat, merciless and outrageous shocker--should stun and flabbergast most of the film's audience. A repeat viewing of "Surveillance" demonstrates how very fairly the writers and Lynch have played their game, and will give an added appreciation for certain actors in the cast. "I promise you, it's not like the other films you'll see," Ms. Lynch tells us in one of the DVD's copious extras, and darn if she isn't right! I cannot offhand think of another picture so deliberately amoral, and so blithely ruthless in the treatment of its entire roster of characters. While some might walk away from "Surveillance" clucking "sick, sick, sick," most, I feel, will applaud its bravura daring, technical brilliance, fine acting and shocking windup. It's certainly not a movie to watch with the kids or with Aunt Petunia, but for those game for something different, it should just prove the ticket....
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