|Index||3 reviews in total|
Profile of a Killer is the ambitious directorial debut by British born
screenwriter Caspian Tredwell-Owen, he also penned the script. The film
is a serious look at the mind of a teenage serial killer, his captured
profiler and the people tracking him. While it still has some of the
welcomed clichés of the serial killer and police procedural drama
genres, it also does its best to dispense of them and try something
different. The main one being that we, the audience, discover the
identity of the killer fairly early on and from that moment the film
jumps between FBI agent Rachel Cade (Emily Fradenburgh) trying to track
him down and the killer, David (Joey Pollari) instigating a battle of
wits with his kidnapped profiler (Gabriele Angieri).
It was apparently intended as a studio project but when financing fell through Tredwell-Owen relocated to Minnesota, got a fantastic, local cast together and a fairly extensive crew, for an indie production, and they all took the project on themselves. The gamble appears to have paid off as a solid script, some excellent performances, beautifully real cinematography and strong production values has propelled this taught drama onto the big screen across America and onto DVD using a word of mouth, grass roots campaign that continues today with humble blogs like mine receiving screeners and doing reviews.
I am happy to report that this film was well worth the watch. I was impressed by its visual flair. The snowy farm land and freeways of Minnesota, while, of course, conjuring up some favourable comparisons to the Coen Brother's Fargo, also remained feeling very fresh, different and unique to this film. The set dressing and art direction of the farm house, where the majority of the action takes place, is pleasingly run down and filled with texture. It's also lit and shot in an evocative and vibrant way, creating depth and shadow, as well as a sense of unease. You can feel the bone chilling cold and the rough harsh surfaces of this unforgiving building.
The performances prove, once and for all, that you don't need a big name star to present compelling characters on screen. For one half, the film is a riveting two hander between Joey Pollari's David and Gabriele Angieri's Saul. Both actors enthrall with their range and ability and even when, in the long second act, the dialogue gets quite complex and wordy, throwing the pacing off somewhat, their acting never wavers for a second and is always impressive to watch. The other half of the film is focused on the FBI and local police's attempts to track them both down, lead by Emily Fradenburgh's dedicated and dead pan agent Cade. She is the determined centre of this story and it can be a thankless task because while Fradenburgh's performance is pleasingly assured, serious and earnest, she can, sometimes, lack an emotional core. There are a couple of scenes in the film, a throwaway plot strand about her father and the death of someone close, that maybe could've used some beefing up, so that she could show the wearing affect of her steadfast dedication to the job but those are small complaints overall. The cast of characters she is surrounded by or interviews are also resoundingly great and you're never thrown from the film because of some unfortunate dialogue delivery that can, sadly, derail even the most well intentioned low budget film.
The writing is strong and the dialogue authentic. The procedural elements of the police work felt real and without the usual over-the-top flashes that TV so often employs. The same can be said for the back and forth dialogue in the farm house. The questions, the actions and the reactions were different from what you'd expect as, usually, they would be ramped up and accompanied by an overly dramatic score but here they play out naturally. This makes these scenes disconcerting as you can't second guess what will happen next, which adds to the tension. The script is definitely clever and never overly stylised.
The film makes excellent use of the budget and it feels like every penny is on screen in the right place. There are authentic police cars, a helicopter, a delivery van and a variety of locations. There are also some nice, gruesome effects and while it's not exactly excessively gory or exploitative, the deaths are uniquely twisted and macabre.
I have to admit that the overly serious tone, pacing and length of the film are not usually my cup of tea. I also found some of the dialogue and drama during the mid section of the film to be a little confusing as I'm not sure I bought strongly into the mental cat and mouse as much as I would've liked. The ending was good though and the ultimate irony well thought out and haunting. This is definitely a film to track down on-demand or for rent as it really has a lot to offer and projects like this need to be supported.
My entire family loved the movie, including my 13-year old actress daughter! Very gripping, very intense. It quickly captures your attention immediately and never lets your attention wander for a second. Everyone involved did an excellent job! It was clearly on par with any top Hollywood film. I expect it to do very well! I rarely bother to comment on a film, but this one is truly worth your time. We originally went because it was a local film and we knew some of the actors. We never expected it to be so amazing! Every actor did fantastic. The young boy, who was one of the leads, had so many layers and depth to his performance. He alternated from exhibiting one set of personality traits, to quickly flipping to being completely the opposite in a very believable way. The other lead also had much depth and many layers. All of the actors were very believable, and the script, the scenes, the props, the lighting - everything - was very professionally done. There was no "small, local movie" feel to any of it.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
We are introduced to a complacent, former FBI profiler who is called
away from 'homely happiness' by an old friend on the force for a
baffling (what else?) case of an exquisite killer. With a big financial
bonus in the offing and a first class ticket the profiler is persuaded
to take the job. So I didn't mind this man was abducted the very same
evening he arrived, and also the transverse adolescent killer was
promising, not to mention the gross finds.
Unfortunately, the following is a tame, non-surprising trip through the cold of Minnesota, which fails to impress in any way; the disappointing acting being the biggest problem - though it is not from a lack of trying. The story? Something about the youth of today and how far they have drifted away from the good old values, or simply a cat and mouse (well, one cat and a selection of mice) detective with a lot of inane psycho-rhetoric... you choose. In any case, this is a botched up mix of (wanna be intelligent) drama and suspense.
Somehow it's not áll bad, but 3 out of 10 is all I can spare.
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