First, I like Karl Urban. I like Pacino (mostly). So I thought that there was good potential here even though "Hangman" is essentially "Se7en Lite"... except not as good as that might imply. There aren't any new ideas here - it's all pretty cliché' - and of course there is the requisite insertion of the Gay and Feminist Agenda that seems to contaminate every movie coming out of Hollywood these days. Ooo - so edgy! Step right up and *pay* for your daily dose of propaganda. Yawn.
Urban is saddled with the standard-issue "brooding, former hot-shot FBI agent" character and Pacino as his "burned-out-but-brilliant former (retired) partner" ... who's somehow allowed to be heavily involved in a serial-killer investigation(?) Snow plays a New York Times reporter who claims that her goal is to give some ... "honest insight into what it's like to be a police officer..." .. uh, sure. This coming from the paper that loves to promote hostility and violence toward the Police.
They are trying to decipher the "coded message" that the "Hangman" is sending to them via mutilated and ritualistically displayed bodies (insert "mysterious and never fully explained" connection to the two investigators) and even though they keep getting "letters" (via the victim's bodies) nobody bothers to put them on the diagram that they keep showing. Another (of many) bizarre thing is that the "clues" left to the detectives are ridiculously obscure ... and yet they figure out the "meaning" of each one in seconds ... and are never wrong.
Production value is good (overall) with the exception of some annoying "shaky camera" footage. The dialog is clumsy, the acting flaccid, and the soundtrack is tolerable ... but the biggest issue I had is that the story does not flow: the pacing is inconsistent and confusing. There are some jarring continuity issues between shots, e.g. you'll have a couple of camera cuts building tension, and one that immediately follows that falls flat - it doesn't fit. It feels like there were shots randomly taken out and others randomly inserted ... I found myself thinking, "Well... that was weird ..." a lot.
Some of the other pain:
There is no logic to how the victims are selected or why - yet they want you to believe there is.
Some of the flashback footage is cringe-worthy. I can imagine Urban saying "Man, please don't make me do that ..."
In one shot it's 11pm on the first day, in the next shot, it's 10:45pm on the second day. You'll feel like someone is hitting the "Next Chapter" button on the remote without telling you.
Detectives allowing a reporter to contaminate a murder scene.
The 30-something, crippled, Latina Police Captain. Really? What vast law-enforcement experience/expertise would have logically earned her that position? What is she? An Affirmative Action "3-fer"?
Pacino punishes you with one of the WORST attempts at a "Southern" accent I've heard in a long time. Horrific.
To conclude: If you have nothing else to do, and want to just put your mind in neutral (maybe drink heavily) it's a tolerable way to spend a couple of hours ... but a much better use of your time would be watching (or re-watching) "Se7en" instead.
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