Struggling writer Travis Hall lands a job as a night-shift security guard, thinking that the long, quiet hours will help him finish up his latest novel. The absurdity of the job, however, distracts him from his ambition.
A young Italian woman inherits from her deceased lover an enigmatic modern house in the New York country side, and goes to see it for the first time. When she arrives she meets the caretaker of the house...
With World War 2 looming, a prominent family in China must confront the contrasting ideas of traditionalism, communism and Western thinking, while dealing with the most important ideal of all: love and its meaning in society.
Stan is a quiet, solitary detective in New York City. A few months ago, he solved a gruesome case of serial murders, although an undercover police officer lost her life. A new set of similar murders begins: the bodies are elaborately displayed and the killer uses equipment from art and early movie making in the tableau, or he leaves a clue as to where the investigators are to stand to get the full artistic effect. Stan is paired with a younger detective, Carl, whom he brushes off when Carl wants to get to know him. As pieces fall in place, it's a race to prevent the next killing, quite possibly someone close to Stan. Written by
Stan Aubray (Willem Dafoe) is an NYPD detective who likes to collect Renaissance-era chairs and has a mild case of both OCD and alcoholism. Five years ago, he was the lead investigator in the "Uncle Eddie" serial killings, in which victims were posed in settings, as if to create a work of art. Stan is still haunted by the last killing, which he feels he should have prevented. However, Stan eventually solved the murders. Or did he?
Now, there are new serial killings that are similar, yet different. The artsy posing is there, but is much more gruesome and elaborate, involving Renaissance techniques such as camera obscura and anamorphosis. Many in the police and press are calling these new killings "copycats." Stan isn't so sure.
While watching the plot develop, one inevitably makes comparisons with the Hannibal Lecter movies. While this film aspires to that level, it falls short, mainly because although the basic premise is not without interest, the writing fails to deliver on the promise. Stan's character is unfortunately made a lone wolf, with minimal dialog and interaction with other characters, even keeping his partner in the dark. Willem Dafoe, he of the high forehead, hollow cheeks, and strong chin, does a great job with what he's given, but can't quite carry this film on his own. The supporting cast was, somewhat understandably, very uninterested in their roles, with the exception of Peter Stormare as the character of the low-level art dealer. Finally, the lighting effects of the flashback scenes and final scene can only be described as bizarre, and not in a good way.
The writers made the mistake of trying to make up for the film's deficiencies by upping the gore scale, and in doing so, probably cut the film's box-office receipts considerably. Parents: the film's R rating is *very* well-deserved. Even adults should ask themselves if they're strong of stomach before going to see this movie.
In conclusion, I would recommend this film only if you're a big fan of Willem Dafoe and/or this genre.
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