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Underutilisation of a great cast.
thefilthpig26 November 2011
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.
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Disjointed and disappointing
rutietooty25 November 2011
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 opinion).

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.
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The Truth is more horrid than Screenplay
gradyharp10 June 2012
Warning: Spoilers
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
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Underrated and Gritty Detective Story
Claudio Carvalho16 April 2012
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")
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Perry Bee26 December 2011
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.
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Was Expecting More but that Never Came
Eric Olsder11 January 2012
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.
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Keeps you expecting something better
shanksinha12 November 2011
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.
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An Underrated Film
mistersifuentes4 February 2012
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.
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Dang. It wasn't THAT bad!
Gladys_Pym13 November 2011

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....
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Tries so hard to make the audience not care about any of the characters...
the_rattlesnake2517 October 2011
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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Serial Killers once more gets what they deserve.
simon-psykolog19 January 2012
Warning: Spoilers
So the scene is set once more with sadistic serial killers being chased by hardworking cops who puts their life in danger in order to safe the innocent civilians.

The tone is hard, the violence explicit and it seems to be that cops are the only ones to trust. They do what they can to serve justice either as being partly social worker or threatens whoever stands in their way.

The story develops and for the observant viewer, who is familiar with the genre, I will claim that this movie doesn't add anything new to this type of movie.

We follow a little girl throughout the movie who struggles to survive in a highly dysfunctional family. We know that she eventually will be targeted by the serial killers. We sit and wait for this to happen and know that this will be a part of the inevitable big showdown at the end where the cops will settle the score.

The storyline and plot for movies dealing with cops, serial killers and innocent civilians has been put into a formula. It has been tested numerous times in other serial killer movies and therefore the director/ writer really have to twist the plot in order to give the viewer some new experience. I really can't see where the movies surprises? That part of the motivation for the serial killings is to challenge the cops is immensely boring to watch seems; it is a mere repetition from other movies in this genre.

Cops portrayed in movies are very often built around the idea that they have serious personal problems – they drink too much and have a ruined marriage behind them. Why do we see this so often? It makes their heroism bigger. They sacrifice everything they have in order to maintain justice. They often treat the potential criminals with lack of respect and hostility but we forgive them because we understand that the mean justifies the cause; they do it out of necessity.

If you are new to this genre it could work as an introduction I guess. If you are already familiar – don't bother unless you are addicted.

Regards Simon
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This place is nothing but chaos. Your God doesn't even come here.
Spikeopath17 May 2014
Texas Killing Fields is directed by Ami Canaan Mann and written by Don Ferrarone. It stars Sam Worthington, Jeffrey Dean Morgan, Jessica Chastain, Chloe Grace Moretz, Jason Clarke, Annabeth Gish and Stephen Graham. Music is by Dickon Hinchliffe and cinematography by Stuart Dryburgh. Film is based around real events involving the many murders of women whose bodies have been found in a desolate area of road and wasteland between Houston and Galveston.

Ami Canaan Mann is the daughter of Michael Mann, one of the masters of modern day crime story movies, so it's not very surprising to see Ami, for her sophomore production, venture into murky waters. Texas Killing Fields is a bayou noir, where although the title hints at human devastation unbound, it's actually a slow burning skin itcher more concerned with the people investigating crime than that of the perpetrators. How the sorry events affect all who come in to contact with the crimes at the film's core, is what drives Texas Killing Fields on. Sadly the screenplay takes on board too much and nearly derails an otherwise very good movie.

If it comes down to atmosphere and technical smarts in achieving such? Then this is one of the finest of recent times. There's a constant sense of broody foreboding throughout, the haunting landscapes are all gnarly and spectre like, the whole area literally stinks of death and misery. Even when the story is away from the fields of the title, there's a mood of despair filtering out from Mann and Dryburgh's lenses, the hot Texas weather draining every ounce of sweat from the emotionally troubled detectives. All of the atmosphere is helped considerably by Hinchliffe's music, which piggybacks the misery with ominous bluesy tones.

Unfortunately all this deft atmospheric craft can't stop the screenplay from being annoying. A sub-plot involving Worthington and Chastain as ex husband and wife is as pointless as it gets, which simultaneously wastes Chastain in the process. The makers have chosen to actually have suspects front and centre for the crimes on screen (unlike the real life cases, most of which remain unsolved), well they intend to keep it mysterious, but anyone paying attention will catch on quickly enough. There's also problems with the sound mix, which at times is appalling, rendering some crucial dialogue exchanges as inaudible.

Cast are good, especially Morgan and Moretz, and Mann shows a good hand at action sequences to compliment her astute mood setting skills. But this still feels like a misfire, and subsequent critical appraisals and internet rating systems have it as just above average. That's a little unfair, there's much for the neo-noir/crime movie crowd to get enthralled by here, but Mann may need to sharpen up her story telling whiles to fully bloom her undoubted potential. 6.5/10
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An Unholy Mess
jacknreading28 February 2012
Warning: Spoilers
Indecipheral dialogue, hopelessly muddled plot,total absence of character development..I mean, did the director ever watch this film before it was released??? This film is a blatant example of a maddening trend among some contemporary filmmakers: It doesn't matter if the story you tell is incoherent to the audience (sometimes intentionally so!)--just load on those atmospherics! Oh, and don't worry if the audience can't understand a word one of the main characters is saying (the mumbling, incoherent Worthington--it sounds more "authentic!" I'm convinced that when the film wrapped, this neophyte director woke up in the middle of the night and exclaimed: "Omigod! I forgot to put in a resolution about that tattooed guy who killed the cop!" In this case, considering Michael Mann's distinguished resume (with the exception, I would say, of the equally muddled "Miami Vice," the apple has fallen far, far from the tree.
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alex-226125 December 2011
Dark, but a truthful portrait of a culture of violence against women. Beautifully shot and acted. May be too difficult of your average viewer....but those with an appreciation for cinema will not regret making sure they see this. Ami Mann shows that talent runs in the family...though this is probably better than anything her father ever did.The story is loosely based on a series of killings in a corner of the Texas oil fields. The plot is not the essential feature however, but the characters and the sense of a culture....much like No Country for Old Men. Worthington has never been this convincing, and the same for Chastain. But all the minor roles are astoundingly well cast and acted. Again, probably not for everyone, but this is the sort of dark noir that US directors have stopped making.
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Practice Makes Not So Perfect...
Allen Williams13 February 2012
It seems painfully obvious that this film had a much better cast then it deserved...Mainly because the director of this film just happens to be the daughter of Michael Mann...

The performances were alright...Jessica Chastin and Chloe-Grace Moretz easily steal the show from the two lead males...Especially the over-acting Sam Worthington...

The reason I don't think this film works overall...Is because the director needs much more experience before she can be considered a good film maker...

As far as I am concerned...This was more like a homework assignment given to her by her Dad Michael Mann...I doubt he graded her higher than I did...

But I have to admit...I am kinda jealous that she gets all these actors provided for her to play with instead of regular toys like the rest of us had when we were kids...

And that's all there is too it...
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This review is actually a warning.
Maleplatypus27 May 2012
This is a movie about forgetting and confusion (what did I want to say? how come there are so many characters? what shall I do with them? what do you mean by "the plot"? I am directing a movie?? really? since when??).

Total waste of good actors, time and, of course, invested money.

This movie should have been directed by someone who is, at least, involved in it, knowing what to do. Otherwise it looks exactly like this: a bunch of characters which are connected but you'll never find out how and why, some parallel stories which do intersect occasionally (so one may be fooled and expect a wisely directed finale, when everything shows up and is explained - no, it is not), ending of the movie which over viewers head leaves a question mark big as Burj Khalifa ("hey! the movie just started! what is this?!") and so on.

On the other hand, camera work is great. Acting too. Therefore 4 stars. Otherwise it would be 0. And you'll always find a creature who will find this mess a masterpiece. That's life.
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Strange (happenings)
kosmasp23 May 2012
The movie itself is really on the verge of being really good. But it never quite reaches that top. Still it is a wonderful acted and photographed movie. The story keeps you on your toes (or the edge of your seat from time to time), though you sometimes wish there would be a clearer and easier to follow narrative. On the other hand you could argue that that is the strong point of the movie.

Being based on real events, this obviously had some high expectations to fill (read there was some notion from the real detectives, who were hoping to get new clues on happenings in that area, though I can't confirm if that is true or not). And it shouldn't matter or make a difference on what you think of the movie. Either you like it or you don't. No matter what is really going on. You can't put that kind of pressure on a low budget movie like this one.
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Nothing to see here.
Rockwell_Cronenberg11 November 2011
This was just a chore to get through. Even in some of the worst crime films, it rarely ever feels difficult to endure for me, but this one was rough almost off the bat. The aesthetic is so dingy and dull, it looks like it was shot on a camera you'd find in a high school classroom and the writing is surely some of the worst I've ever experienced. Characters appear out of nowhere, victims pop up with no explanation and everything just jumps around, leaving the audience totally in the dust. The direction muddles things even further, along with some god awful sound that makes things incoherent half of the time and unbearable the other half.

It could have been slightly worthwhile if the acting had been decent, but none of the performers were able to do it any favors either. Chloe Moretz was laughably self-aware, yet somehow Sam Worthington managed to be even worse than her with his range going from totally incoherent (with a silly Texas accent that disappears halfway through) to completely over the top. Jeffrey Dean Morgan and Jessica Chastain start off decent enough but by the end of it they too have entirely collapsed under the weight of the horrendous writing into a spectacle of everything you should do wrong. This is an example of how not to make a movie.
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Good, moody film...
jmsfan18 January 2013
Warning: Spoilers
I don't know exactly what some people expected from this film given some of the negative reviews, but I loved it. I keep reading "disjointed," "incoherent," "jumbled," etc. I found it to be anything but.

There seems to be some confusion as to the relationships between the two sets of suspects in the film. Well, the blonde, tattooed suspect and his pimp friend are basically a red-herring to the main "Killing Fields" case. Yes, they are responsible for the death of the first dead girl found by the detectives, whom Sam Worthington focuses on in the film, complete with the stakeout on the evidence-laden car. His partner, played by Jeffrey Dean Morgan is determined to solve the cases of murdered girls found in neighboring bayou areas. It's not really his or his partner's jurisdiction, but he feels compelled to help the neighboring county police chief, played by Jessica Chastain. Chastain also happens to be Worthington's ex-wife.

It's hinted that Morgan, a New York transplant, had been on a similar case there that went unsolved, but we're not given every bit of information and that's okay. We're just supposed to know that he's driven to solve this case, even if he breaks some rules to do it. Some people have complained that the cops get away with beating suspects and breaking the rules...well, I'm sorry, but it does happen sometimes in real life, especially when peoples' lives are on the line. The guy who is beaten by Morgan for wearing the dead girl's ring around his neck...Morgan lost his temper, yes, but the man was wearing evidence and not cooperating and his other friends came in to try to beat on Morgan, so the cops could say what they wanted, whether we side with them or not, and I did side with the cops.

Like others on the boards, I have kinfolk who live in and around Texas City and it's true that it doesn't look exactly like the movie portrays, but I didn't really care about that. I was focused on the story and the film itself and it really works for me on those levels. Plus the performances are uniformly fine. Morgan appears to be the "good cop" i.e. the level-headed one at first, and Worthington the hot-head. By the mid-point of the film, the roles seem to shift with Morgan going off-track with his focus, at least at first glance. He plays both ends of the spectrum without it being hammered over our head and he does it very nicely.

His determination pays off finally. It's his friendship with a local, troubled teen, played by Chloe-Grace Moretz, that finally helps him in his journey.

Worthington does great as the more seething partner, whether he's badgering Morgan about their not focusing on their own case, or rattling suspects' cages in interrogation, or almost ruining Morgan's questioning of witnesses. He also does a turn-around but it's nearer to the end of the film. Only while helping a character gather belongings to go to a new location does he seem to have calmed a bit.

Chastain, who is one of my favorite actresses, is fine here, but her part is not huge. It's mostly sprinkled throughout the film at vital times. Still, she does fine with the part she's given, which is the sheriff whose misfortune it is to have numerous unsolved murders throughout the years go unsolved because the soggy, barren bayous make perfect dumping or "killing" grounds for murderers. It just so happens that the ones that the film focuses on are a case that is ongoing. She relies on Morgan's help, much to her ex-husband's aggravation.

Moretz is super in the film. Her put-upon, unsupervised young girl is vital to the film. She is known to the two main detectives as they frequently find her roaming around town, taking her back to her broken home, "run" by her partying Mom, played by Sheryl Lee. Lee usually has more than a few men hanging out there, making her daughter leave the house at odd hours so Lee can party. This puts Moretz in jeopardy throughout the film, which provides quite a bit of tension.

The look of the film is moody, the music is great, particularly at the film's close, and I was pleased with the ending, although some have cried foul at the "happy ending." Given what each character has lost by the end, I wouldn't say that it's happy, but a just ending. I'd recommended it to anyone who likes compelling stuff that isn't everyday cops-and-robbers.

Also, some have said that the film doesn't disclose what happens to the tattooed-blonde or his pimp buddy. I have the Blu-Ray DVD and the scene does give some closure on at least one of them, although the other's fate is left unknown. But that just adds to the realism of the movie and didn't even faze me about the film as a whole. Again, give it a chance. Don't expect a classic but a good, solid, almost-noirish movie and you'll enjoy it.
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Exciting title, very disappointing and dull story..
homecoming87 April 2012
Warning: Spoilers
"Texas Killing Fields" is based upon actual events. It stars Sam Worthington, best known for "Avatar". The story promises a lot and it opens with a scene where the body of a young woman is found. After that there is a 'random' event in which a character appears briefly who has 'serial killer' written all over him. It's not good when you can pinpoint the suspect 20 minutes within the story. It's even worse if it turns out in the "surprising" final that you 're actually right ! Later on, it is revealed that a witness claims there are 2 killers. The character is seen with another individual and it is clear that he's the dominant one and the other one is the submissive one. Because that is the relationship between them if there are 2 serial killers, which is rarely the case. Strangely, the police suspects the town pimp and a lowdown criminal for the murders which have been taken place for many years. Now, all above info is more exciting than the actual movie, because the story is uninteresting and doesn't focus on the killings itself. It lacks tension or even has an entertaining story and is confusing at times. There is no explanation on the motive of the killers, you learn nothing about them at all ! Instead, we get a lot of boring facts about other jurisdictions and the relationship between the cop and his ex- wife. I love serial killer movies like "Silence of the Lambs, Se7en, Resurrection" and TV-series like "Criminal Minds". But this is nothing like that. It's not even a thriller. Forgettable, a waste of time, despite the fact that the cast is OK. The greatest mystery is certainly not the identity of the killer(s), but why the hell Michael Mann produced this average TV movie !!...
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One of the Worst Modern Crime Films
ThatMOVIENut22 December 2014
Based on true events, this crime drama relates the story of two cops (Dean Morgan and Worthington) down in the Texan bayous who are investigating a series of grim murders of young women that tie back to the titular area.

Shambolic and often incomprehensible, producer Michael Mann's daughter, director Ami Canaan Mann, clearly proves talent isn't genetic. A real shame as despite decent performances from four capable actors, poor camera work and muddled writing completely sink it. The film attempts to go for a gritty, down to earth, often grungy look, befitting the subject, but it instead comes off as on par with a student film, with plenty of lazy, near continuous hand-held cam, bland video quality and tacky lighting. Honestly, it felt more like a cheap reconstruction for 'interchangeable crime documentary show #2383845', and strips a lot of mood and tension out of a film that so badly wants to have style and a sinister ambiance. Having a poor sound mix doesn't help out either.

However, Dom Ferrarone's script is the even bigger offender here; it literally has no idea what it wants to be. By turns, it's a drama, a psychological suspense flick, a social indictment on poverty in the area, a family story, a biopic, a morality tale and even a faux- documentary. Its focus is so all over the map that not only can it be frustrating to follow as the investigation always seems to be interrupted by other aspects, leading to an erratic flow of time and poor pacing, but the characters suffer. None of them are interesting, well fleshed out or even that relateable, which should be a 'no-duh' for this sort of film. Biopics/historical films live and die by the humanization of the figures presented, and sadly, this is more like 'Wyatt Earp' or 'For Great Glory' in this regard, where every one is flat. Only difference is those films at least felt coherent and not chopped up like this one.

Frankly, I'm going to just wrap this up and just say that 'T.K.F' may be one of the worst biopics and crime films I have ever seen, and considering I'm a period junkie, that's saying a lot. This is one pony Daddy Mann shouldn't have bought for his little angel, and instead, shipped to the glue factory.
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An Average Crime Thriller With A Competent Cast
Desertman841 April 2013
Warning: Spoilers
Texas Killing Fields is a crime film that focuses on several killings along Houston's I-45 corridor between Houston and Galveston, in and around an area known as "the killing fields"; the crime investigators on the case; their sacrifices and personal mission to protect the innocent; plus their stakeout to find the killer of the fictional character or victim in the movie. It was loosely inspired by true events surrounding the murders of women kidnapped from cities spread along 30 plus miles of I-45 corridor and dumped in many areas to include numerous bayous surrounding the oil fields of Texas City. It features Sam Worthington, Jeffrey Dean Morgan, Jessica Chastain and Chloë Grace Moretz.

A local homicide detective and his partner, a transplanted cop from New York City as they track a sadistic serial killer dumping his female victims' mutilated bodies in a nearby marsh dubbed The Killing Fields. 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 a local girl goes missing the detectives find themselves in a race against time to find their killer before she is murdered.

The film is a decent crime thriller, brewing up characters and plots used in better films. But the story simply doesn't stand up, with its combination of well-worn plot elements and confusing details that don't add up. Scenes do not always necessarily follow one another. Also,it was sometimes unclear who some of the characters were. The only notable element of this police procedural is that director Ami Canaan Mann, daughter of filmmaker Michael Mann,who produced here, appreciates dad's art in doing films but could only turn up an average crime thriller.Too bad that a competent cast was somewhat misused in it.
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I have always liked the actors in this movie. And that is all I liked.
wolfeatworld25 December 2011
I have always liked the actors in this movie. And that is all I liked.

I'll make this short, with no spoilers: I thought this was a total and complete waste of time, from beginning to end. I could find no redeeming qualities, nothing whatsoever to recommend this film to anyone.

It was impossible to follow, both the story line and the characters.

What a waste of very good actors; (no part of this awful film was the fault of any of the stars.) I kept waiting for something, anything, to happen, and as the film dragged on and on and on, nothing ever did.

Everyone will have an opinion. This is mine:

Don't waste your time. Nothing makes any sense, and at the end, if you're at all a discerning movie goer, you will be angry and probably feel 'duped.'
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Disturbing film
Saiph9013 January 2013
I found this film disturbing and beautifully shot, the landscape is the scenery of a nightmare. Two detectives played by Sam Worthington and Jeffery Dean Morgan operate in Texas City come across a body and then come across a young girl played by the absolutely excellent Chloë Grace Moretz. This is the start of a challenging story of serial killing it what is known as the Texas Killing Fields. Some reviewers complain that the plot is confused, maybe I don't need spoon feeding. Initially being from the UK the accents require careful listening to, but overall I found all the acting very compelling, it also has a beautiful song from the wonderful Mazzy Star. I think the best word to describe the film is haunting.
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More of a film fragment than a coherent film.
Larry-11513 November 2012
Just caught it last night and was pretty disappointed. There are some strong performances, especially by up-and-comer Chloe Moretz, who gives an amazingly understated performance, and during the short time she's on screen Jessica Chastain is also wonderful.

I wasn't very impressed by Sam Worthington, however, particularly his East Texas accent, which sounded like he'd just eaten a live squirrel and was called upon to speak while he was chewing the still-struggling animal.

But the good performances here have nothing to anchor themselves on, so they don't really speak to us. We just watch them float away.

The main flaw here is the story. Movies are stories and it's generally (but not always) important that the tale makes sense and holds together. This seems to have been either badly vetted or revised so often that it became indecipherable, or perhaps the editing job was butchered, but regardless of the cause you will finish this movie without much of a sense of what it was about, what you've just been watching, or why anyone would expect you to sit through it.

The message that the movie makers should take away from this is, it's important to let the audience in on the story, and it's also important that there be a story in the first place.
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