Every murder has a mark.
Running Time: 97 minutes
US Certificate: R UK Certificate: 15
Police thrillers like this one are two-a-penny, and they have been ever since Se7en. Just as the release of Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels sparked a spate of copycat Mockney crime romps in the UK, David Fincher’s Se7en paved the way Stateside for grisly cop tales a-plenty. But we’re now almost a decade on from Se7en, and the sound of gun-shots in a dimly-lit alleyway or a woman screaming upon discovering a mutilated corpse has long since turned into that of a barrel being scraped. So step forward the wholly uninspired ‘Twisted’.
It stars Ashley Judd as under-pressure San Francisco cop Jessica Shepard. Her dear old Dad was both a policeman and a serial killer (which, when you think about it, is an extremely resourceful way of keeping yourself in work) and, after he topped himself, she was left to be raised by his best mate John (Samuel L. Jackson). Now that she’s all grown up, she spends her evenings either picking up strangers in bars or staying home to drink herself unconscious (though the fact that it takes only one glass of claret to achieve this feat should probably set alarm bells ringing).
Anyway, you get the impression the last thing this woman needs is more problems, but that’s exactly what she gets when her various conquests start snuffing it left, right and centre. Who could possibly be the killer? Is it her creepily over-friendly partner Mike (Andy Garcia)? Or how about wise old guardian John? Or maybe it’s Jessica herself? Who knows? Who cares?
I can’t really fault any of the performances on show. Jackson is his usual reliable self (though I have to say that he appears in so much stuff now that he’s completely destroyed his own spark, and frankly his presence in any film just bores me these days), whilst Judd and Garcia actually do quite well considering the weakness of the material. But the characters themselves are under-written and under-motivated, and as a result it’s impossible to find anyone to relate to.
It feels as if writer Sarah Thorp has come up with a string of generic conventions and thrown them all in, but forgotten to add anything with meaning to glue them together. Meanwhile, Philip Kaufman’s over-the-top directorial style (he’s the guy who co-wrote Raiders of the Lost Ark, in case you’re interested) creates the impression of constantly trying to convince us that what we’re watching is in some way important. The thing is, if it truly was important, we wouldn’t need to have our arms twisted – we’d just know. The final viewing result is a hollow experience, watchable but completely unengaging.
It's Got: A killer who uses cigarette burns as a particularly unimaginative calling card. I prefer my psychopaths to at least show a bit of creativity.
It Needs: Samuel L. Jackson to look up the meaning of the word overkill.
DVD Extras A directors commentary, some deleted scenes, and some fairly run-of-the-mill featurettes titled Creating a Twisted web of intrigue, Inspectors: Clues to the crime and San Francisco: Scene of the crime. DVD Extras Rating: 4/10
Twisted is a fair enough description, but it could just as accurately have been titled Poor, Predictable or A Bit Crappy.