ReelTalk Movie Reviews  

New Reviews
Jurassic World Domini...
Jazz Fest: A New Orle...
Chip 'n Dale: Rescue ...
more movies...
New Features
Poet Laureate of the Movies
Happy Birthday, Mel Brooks
Score Season #71
more features...
ReelTalk Home Page
Contact Us
Advertise on ReelTalk

Listen to Movie Addict Headquarters on internet talk radio Add to iTunes

Buy a copy of Confessions of a Movie Addict

Main Page Movies Features Log In/Manage

Rate This Movie
 Above AverageAbove AverageAbove AverageAbove Average
 Below AverageBelow Average
Rated 3.03 stars
by 1621 people

ReelTalk Movie Reviews
Doin' the Homicide Twist
by Betty Jo Tucker

A psychological thriller with little psychology and fewer thrills, Twisted is almost worth watching because of its star trio -- Ashley Judd, Samuel L. Jackson and Andy Garcia -- who try to liven up a dark and dreary film. Judd, portraying police inspector Jessica Shepard, faces the most difficult challenge. Her character is on the verge of alcoholism, picks up men in bars for one-night stands, stares frequently at a photo of her father's bloody corpse, and kicks a suspect in the face after handcuffing him. But, hey, does this mean she's twisted?

Not according to John Mills (Jackson), the elegant man who raised her. Formerly her father's partner, he's now the Police Commissioner and Jessica's proud mentor. Nor to Mike Delmarco (Garcia), her sexy new homicide partner. Still, when men Jessica has slept with start turning up dead, even she begins to wonder about her sanity. "We've wasted a whole day tracking down me," she says to Delmarco on the day their investigation heats up.

Naturally, anyone who knows anything about psychological thrillers will find it impossible to believe Jessica could be the  murderer. It's against the thriller code. Then who is? An old boyfriend? A colleague, envious of her rapid rise from street cop to inspector? An attorney she spurned? Or someone closer to her? After most suspects end up as victims of the killer, only four logical possibilities remain: Jessica, her mentor, her partner and her psychiatrist (David Straithairn of Blue Car). I use the term "logical" loosely.  Logic has nothing to do with it -- worn-out formulaic mentality takes over here.  

Don't get me wrong. I love psychological thrillers. But Twisted evokes none of the nerve-wracking tension I expect  in films of this genre. With no exquisite suspense offered, the only interesting thing left concerns whodunit and why. Peter Deming's murky cinematography, which worked so well in From Hell by showing the squalor of Jack the Ripper's London haunts, emerges as an additional drawback for me. Beautiful San Francisco, where this story takes place, looks like a colorless city where no one would want to visit, let alone live. And many of the film's blurry scenes dare viewers to see what's really happening.           
Now back to the actors. Judd (High Crimes) manages to dive into her role without drowning in the clichés of Sarah Thorp's unexciting script. Petite and pretty she may be, but she's also convincing as a woman projecting a tough façade and hiding her deep emotional problems. However, Judd might be too convincing. Her character's disagreeable behavior makes it difficult to care about her. I can't help wondering if that's partly director Philip Kaufman's (Quills) fault for including way too many sequences showing Jessica drinking and blacking out. We get the picture early on -- no sense rubbing our noses in it.     

Garcia, smooth as silk as the main villain in Ocean's 11, dons a more curious persona as Delmarco. He keeps us guessing about whether or not he can be trusted, but oh, how we want to trust this solicitous detective who needs to know everything about his new partner. The film sets up some potential intriguing situations between Garcia and Judd, then backs away. Too bad Kaufman didn't include more interaction between these two charismatic actors instead of those redundant blackout scenes.

Regarding Jackson (Basic), he can do no wrong in my book. With that articulate, booming voice and commanding screen presence, he grabs my attention whenever he appears on camera, and I always believe in the characters he portrays. In Twisted, Jackson looks and acts like the ideal police commissioner -- intelligent, caring, and an inspiring motivator.

So, have you identified the killer yet? Take a guess. You might be right -- but don't bet on it.           

(Released by Paramount Pictures and rated "R" for violence, language and sexuality.)

© 2024 - ReelTalk Movie Reviews
Website designed by Dot Pitch Studios, LLC