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With a great cast list, I jumped at this film with enthusiasm. This was
met with a complete underutilisation of some of my favourite actors.
For what it was Jeffrey Dean Morgan played his limited role well, Sam
Worthing over acted his role making him less convincing and Chloe
Moretz was vastly underused.
The plot is difficult to follow and some scenes seem completely unnecessary and others feel as though there needs to be more detail. The story overall suffers from a lack of telling and too much showing. The main plot itself was rather predicable and ultimately let me shaking my head in disapproval. Putting this aside there were some parts of the film that made it interesting and the overall story was good in premise.
I suppose I don't want to hate this film, because it has so much potential. It left me feeling disappointed, but as a point of reference of something done badly that could be brilliant, this is the perfect case.
I was very excited to see this film when I heard they were making a
movie based on the true events in 'the Texas killing fields'. I thought
it might be reminiscent of 'Zodiac' which was superbly done (in my
I really wanted to like this movie. It has good actors, and the chance of a great storyline. Unfortunately, that did not help this movie in the least.
First of all, the storyline is confusing. It seems as if we (the audience) are dropped into the middle of a situation and forced to figure out where we are, what's going on etc...
The main characters who are the detectives- Det. Mike Souder (Sam Worthington) and Brian Heigh (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) seem to have a history together, but what it is, I have no idea. The storytelling (again) is so poor and disjointed that we (the audience) are left to ponder that situation as well. Quickly, we are also introduced to a little girl named Anne (Chloë Grace Moretz), who actually does the best acting of anyone in the entire film.
Now, I am getting myself confused just writing this review. Back to the point...I found this movie confusing, disjointed, lacking a clear direction. I could barely understand a word that came out of Sam Worthington's mouth because his fake southern accent was...criminal. ;-) The story left so many holes, no real explanations of the horrors that have and continue to go on since the 1970's. It just did not tie everything in together in a logical sense.
I saw on CBS, that the real detectives that have been working this case, hope that with the release of the movie 'The Texas Killing Fields' some new leads will come to light. After seeing this movie, I highly doubt that, which really is a shame.
Should you watch this movie? Well, I wouldn't, but I know you will be curious to see it just like I was.
It's difficult to understand why this film was made. And I don't mean that as a commentary on the overall quality of the movie at all. Yes it is a pretty straightforward serial killer/crime drama containing average (and some below average) piece of acting. At the end of the movie however, the question remains, why was this made? If the purpose was to introduce us to the geography of the fields, there are better mediums to do that. If the purpose was to tell a gripping tale of mystery and suspense, that doesn't happen either. If it wanted to make us empathize with the very real plight of detective work in grim everyday condition, it doesn't go there. And lastly if the purpose was to throw some light on the case itself or to enable us to identify with the horrors that the victims faced, the movie simply ignores it. So, why was this film made? The story is told listlessly, almost as if the director has no interest in telling it. Sam Worthington is a cliché of hothead cop characters and the good cop bad cop routine he plays out with Jeffery Dean Morgan adds nothing to the cinematic experience. The character of Chloë Grace Moretz tries too hard to portray the role written for in the script. At the end she comes out as irritating, something I am sure the director did not intended to portray. It's not her fault though, her skill is flawless, she simply doesn't know what she is doing and why. Jessica Chastain looks beautiful and handles her limited role quiet well. That is not to say that this film is bad, it is just so average in everything it does that it all boils down to the purpose of making it.
In Little Texas, Texas, Detectives Brian Heigh (Jeffrey Dean Morgan)
and Mike Souder (Sam Worthington) are investigating a series of murders
of women by a serial-killer. When they leave the crime scene where a
body was found, Brian brings the girl Ann Sliger (Chloë Grace Moretz)
that is on probation to the house of her dysfunctional family and
delivers the neglected Ann to her careless mother.
Then they are called by Detective Pam Stall (Jessica Chastain), who is Mike's ex-wife, to help her to investigating a case of missing woman, but the case is outside their jurisdiction. However, they join Pam in her investigation while the family man Brian tries to help Ann and protect the girl against the abusive friends of her mother. Mike follows a clue that leads to two local criminals while Brian follows a different line of investigation and finds that the bodies were dumped in an area called "The Killing Fields". When Ann is kidnapped by the serial-killer, Brian seeks her out alone in the dangerous land.
"Texas Killing Fields" is an underrated and gritty detective story. The screenplay could be improved since the situation of two different groups of killers is confused but later the plot becomes clearer and the viewer is able to understand the big picture.
The locations in the bayous show an American reality that is not well- explored in Amereican films.The cast has great actors and actresses and the performances are excellent. Ami Canaan Mann is the daughter of Michael Mann and this is her second feature. My vote is seven.
Title (Brazil): "Em Busca de um Assassino" ("Chasing a Killer")
I was sort of hanging for this film, great cast, story line that can
make for great viewing, and I like the setting of the story as well.
And after another lackluster year when it comes to entertainment on the
big screen, I thought this could be great!
Well sadly to say it is messy, when it comes to this kind of cop film, you need direction, some one that can tell the story at a good pace, connect all the dots, get you engrossed in the mood of the film, make you sit and wait for more clues and so on, but this film lacks all of that.
Sure the acting is solid, but I expected that with the good cast, but it just does not flow at a good pace, it jumps over some dots that should be connected to make you feel you are part of the characters, and that's where this film is messy, hence my score of 5, sort of sits in the middle.
Nothing special, but not bad either, 5 out of 5 for this one.
Mumbling, yes. about as much as Run Baby Run. Archetypal characters, well, tick, but then this is the US.
Personally, I liked it. I didn't expect to, but it was OK. They did a 'Coen brothers-y' thing, not really explaining the back story.
OK. Maybe the two male leads have similar attitudes to women and to their abusers as I do, so maybe that biases me, but I don't think that's all.
I think this has a body. Brains, guts, and a spine. The minor parts are well cast and directed, and the three leads rock.
I'm a bit surprised how slated this has been on IMDb.
I liked it, OK? So sue me....
There is an area known as the "killing fields" in Texas, where 30 girls
and young women have turned up dead since the 1970s. This stretch of
land runs along I-45 between Houston and Galveston, Texas and is the
bloodiest stretch of highway in America. Here are the basics on the
murders that have haunted the area for decades. Just 50 miles long,
over the past 38 years nearly 40 women and young girls have been
murdered or vanished along this highway. Their bodies have been dumped
in fields, parks and the many bodies of water in the area, usually in a
sickening state. As of today, the killer is still on the loose. And
detectives admit, they're no closer to catching him--although
scientific advances could finally end the macabre dance of death. He
first struck June 17, 1971. Colette Wilson, 13, had been dropped off
from school band practice by the conductor at a bus stop. The young
girl seemingly disappeared from the face of the earth. Five months
later her nude body was discovered 40 miles away. She died of a single
gunshot wound to the head and her flute was never located.
The story is grim and unfortunately the film version written by Don Ferrarone, a federal agent who investigated the slaughters, who has said 'If you can just imagine having one of these little girls out here...one of these young girls out here...and there's no chance for them to be rescued, to be helped. And they're on they're own.' It was the haunting faces of the lost that inspired Ferrarone to write the screenplay for the film.
The story for the film changes the names of everyone. Mike Souder (Sam Worthington), a homicide detective in a small Texan town, Texas City, and his partner, transplanted New York City cop Brian Heigh (Jefffrey Dean Stanton), track a sadistic serial killer dumping his victims' mutilated bodies in a nearby marsh locals called 'The Killing Fields'. Though the swampland crime scenes are outside their jurisdiction, Heigh is unable to turn his back on solving the gruesome murders. Despite his partner's warnings, he sets out to investigate the crimes. Before long, the killer changes the game and begins hunting the detectives, teasing them with possible clues at the crime scenes while always remaining one step ahead. When familiar local girl Anne (Chloë Grace Moretz) goes missing, the detectives find themselves racing against time to catch the killer and save the young girl's life. That much of the plot is linear, but the sidebars of the local cop (Jessica Chastain, in a completely unnecessary tiny role) who happens to be the ex-wife of Souder, the stopover in a house of prostitution for young girls, the smarmy family of suspects, and other incidentals simply clot the plot and make the dark film (mood as well as lack of light) even more difficult to follow. Worthington and Morgan offer good performance with the poor script they are given, but in the end nothing is resolved and the director finds the need of adding a happy-wappy resolution which is completely out of place. Grady Harp, June 12
I was looking forward to the movie for some time. Knowing the actors I
expected a good performance and a good story.
But this hope was quick gone. The characters are difficult to follow, who they are and what they do.
The detective Mike Souder (Sam Worthington) and Brian Heigh (Jeffrey Dean Morgan)know another and there is something between them but you do not know what that is. This goes as well for all the other actors they do not have any story or personality and that makes them not at all interesting.
It is like a car accident you know it is not that good but every time you just want to know more and your deceived again and again.
The acting is great but is not able to lift up the lite and not very well constructed story.
At the end your lost in the story, characters are totally uninteresting and you know when you are done with the movie that you could have spend your time differently.
This film might not ever find its audience but that doesn't mean it wasn't a great film. There was something so unnerving about this film. It had its flaws but that was overlapped by an amazing cast and acting. Disregard the negative reviews and give it a chance if you want a crime thriller with deep. Sam Worthington's performance was intense. He bought an underlining perspective to his role. A character bonded by this upbringing and an intuition about the nature of "The Killing Fields". Even if the film was only loosely based on the book it still gave a horrific tale of a place where nothing grows. Not sure what happened with Danny Boyle. Not even sure if he would have brought much to this particular story. He is still one of my favorite directors but this would have been a disaster.
Originally scheduled for the director Danny Boyle in 2008, but when the
British-born filmmaker abandoned the project a year later, based on the
murders of young women in a Texan oil field known to the locals as the
'Killing Field,' Ami Canaan Mann, the daughter of the acclaimed
director Michael, took over the directorial helm of the Sam Worthington
vehicle the 'Texas Killing Fields'. Mann's feature-film debut is a
flat, slow police procedural drama that fails to utilize the acting
talent at hand and instead relies entirely upon a stale script. 'Texas
Killing Fields' would make for a barely competent television drama, but
as a theatrical release, it falls incredibly short of being engaging
entertainment for the big-screen.
Detective Mike Souder (Sam Worthington) is a local Texan police officer who believes extensively in only working on cases in his own town's jurisdiction, while his partner Detective Brian Heigh (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) is a former New York City police officer who can't but help others in their time of need. Whether it is a young girl named Anne (Chloe Moretz) who resides with an abusive family, or Det. Souder's former wife Detective Pam Stall (Jessica Chastain), who polices a nearby community in which a Texan oil field known as the killing fields is situated. When Pam requests the help of Heigh in the recent disappearance and murder of women within the confines of the killing fields, he reluctantly obliges, despite the objections of his partner due to their own case against two low-life pimps who are systematically kidnapping and forcing teenage girls into a life of prostitution. What follows, is two differing journeys as both men attempt to bring the guilty to justice through their own, loose methods.
Sam Worthington's Detective Souder is a brash, uncompromising individual who rarely comforts, but always intimidates, even when he is simply taking a statement from a young, teenage victim. It is briefly suggested that this distance and animosity originates from a rough upbringing, but it is never explored in any suitable detail, and Souder instantly comes across as an unlikeable character that is unable to redeem the glaring flaws in his personality by the conclusion of the picture. The same can also be said for Jeffrey Dean Morgan's performance as a likable and hard-working detective, despite a good performance from Morgan, he is entirely clichéd in his traits and comes across as a one-dimensional cardboard cut-out. The only encouraging performance of the piece comes from the surprisingly mature Chloe Moretz, who at only fourteen years of age has already established herself as young, up and coming actress.
Aside from the acting and the lack of characterisation, the other glaring flaw of 'Texas Killing Fields' is the complex narrative at the heart of the picture, while Souder is investigating Rule (Jason Clarke) and Levon (Jon Eyez) over the kidnapping and forced prostitution of runaway teenage girls, Heigh is helping Detective Stall investigate the killing fields, and the story of a neglected teenager in Little Anne is also thrown in their for good measure. With so many different narrative streams taking place all at once it is easy to become confused about what is exactly taking place on-screen, who is being interviewed and what criminal case they are actually discussing or investigating. On more than one occasion the editing compliments this confusion by cutting needlessly to a scene or character unrelated to the previous sequence without any standing or context. This constant juxtaposition between cases also ceases any emotional connection to any of the characters or their plights.
Ami Mann had the potential, the actors and the setting to create a film which would transcend the typical crime-thriller picture and instead impose another strong character piece with an engaging narrative upon this cinematic year, however instead she has come away with an almost amateur looking motion picture which does nothing to compliment the genre. While the Louisianan outback masquerades beautifully for the desolate Texan fields, the rest of the film is quite horrible to observe, it is a boring, slow, predictable, one-dimensional crime-thriller that should have never been commissioned for theatrical distribution.
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