Twisted (2004) / Thriller
MPAA Rated: R for violence, language and sexuality
Running Time: 97 min.
Cast: Ashley Judd, Samuel L. Jackson, Andy Garcia, David Strathairn, Russell Wong, Camryn Manheim, Mark Pellegrino, Titus Welliver, D.W. Moffett
Director: Philip Kaufman
Screenplay: Sarah Thorp
Ashley Judd is stuck in a rut. How many times must we see her in a formulaic serial killer thriller, especially where she must team up with an older, more seasoned partner to get to the bottom of things? Weíve seen it before in Kiss the Girls, then Double Jeopardy, followed by High Crimes. Now we have Twisted, and the hardest part in reviewing this film is not stating whether or not I liked it -- itís trying not to confuse it with any of the other thrillers in the process.
Twisted is directed by Philip Kaufman (Quills, Henry & June), a director who youíd think would know better than to make a movie that could easily have been done by a first-timer to a perhaps less generic effect. Sure, Sarah Thorpís script is definitely the real problem with why this twisty crime drama fails, but Kaufman is a seasoned veteran as a screenwriter as well, and definitely should have known that this premise just wasnít going to fly.
Judd plays Jessica Shepard, a new homicide detective in San Francisco whose first big assignment comes in trying to solve a potential serial killer case. The manner of death, as well as some of the markings are similar enough to deem this the work of the same person, but the victims all bear another similarity as well -- they all have engaged in sex with Shepard in the past. Jessica seems to be suffering from blackouts on the nights of the incidents, and although she has no recollection of any of the events that would lead to the victimsí deaths, as the facts come out, she begins to wonder how close to home these killings are.
There isnít a real story here at all; just a series of events that leave you to try to guess which character is the killer. Almost every person in the film is set up to be the culprit, but through sheer process of elimination, it shouldn't be terribly difficult to determine who the killer is.
After seeing this film, my beef with it isnít really the fact that I guessed who the killer was. My big complaint is that I still am not satisfied in the explanation. Itís feeble at best and nonsensical at worst, but whatever the reason, this is a downright laughable excuse of a movie.
Going to waste are normally good actors like Judd, Samuel L. Jackson (SWAT, Basic) (was Morgan Freeman not available?), and Andy Garcia (Ocean's Eleven, The Untouchables), who all must have been intrigued by the fact that they would have little to do here except cash in their paychecks. Do yourself a favor and donít give up any of yours to see this laughably bad, thoroughly confusing and poorly executed waste of 90+ minutes of your life.
©2004 Vince Leo