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2004 - R - 97 Mins.
Director: Philip Kaufman
Producer: Stephen Brown, Anne Kopelson, Arnold Kopleson
Written By: Sara Thorp
Starring: Ashley Judd, Samuel L. Jackson, Andy Garcia, David Straithairn, Camryn Manheim
Review by: Joe Rickey

Morgan Freeman was busy so I took his role.
Investigator Jessica Shepard, newly promoted to Homicide, is investigating a serial killer whose victims are all her past boyfriends. Strangely, she has been witnessing blackouts every so often. Could the fact that people are dying during the time she is blacked out mean that she, in fact, is committing the murders herself? Ashley Judd headlines this convoluted and logic-defying thriller along with Andy Garcia and Samuel L. Jackson.

Director Philip Kaufman has had a successful career helming relatively small films, for the most part. His last film was titled Quills, a period piece starring Kate Winslet, Joaquin Phoenix, and Geoffrey Rush. That was in 2000. Who would have thought that he would follow that low-key drama with a star-powered thriller as generic as these films can get.

The script by Sara Thorp seems to take the road of throwing as many red herrings in the film as is possible to distract the viewer from what eventually becomes a very obvious conclusion. Could someone be stalking Jessica? Could someone close to her for years be committing the crimes? Could the murders be completely random? Could Shepard be murdering the people herself? All of these possibilities arise during the film with much of the running time devoted to showcasing Shepard’s alcoholic behavior and her rather shady past that included a father who himself was a serial killer. She regularly sees a therapist to discuss her problems but shies away from the fact that her father was a cop turned serial killer. The script even makes sure to throw in some lines that cast doubt mostly on Shepard such as “I could kill that man” and “I could kill him right now.” Why would an investigator who knows that she is a suspect herself in a murder case say such dumb statements? In fact, why is she even on the case when it is obvious that she is considered a prime suspect? It is little things like that drag the film down at every turn.

Director Kaufman doesn’t give the film his usual flair as the film seems to be plodding along at times and lacks energy when it very well should be exciting. The investigation is portrayed very similar to any other film of this ilk, dwarfed at times by the similar investigations seen weekly on such TV shows as CSI and Law and Order. Other than Judd’s character, you are left pretty much in the dark as far as characterization of the supporting cast is concerned.

In the lead role, Ashley Judd disappoints. She seems to realize that she is appearing in what seems like her third serial killer thriller in less than year because of her proficiency at starring in thriller after thriller. She comes across as surprisingly unlikable, a large negative attribute when the fate of her character is the only thing hanging in the balance. As her partner on the investigation, Andy Garcia acts like he would rather be somewhere else the entire time. As a close friend, Samuel L. Jackson brings the only real energy to the film when he appears on screen.

Overall, Twisted is a thriller lacking in not only thrills but also logic, making for a bland movie going experience.

Movie Guru Rating
Disappointing.  Had the right ingredients and should have been better. Disappointing.  Had the right ingredients and should have been better.
  2 out of 5 stars

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