My passion is in the film industry itself but has always loved writing reviews in my spare time. Been doing it since I've been in college.
Definitely a strange film to review. On one hand this is one of the worst films of this year and on the other hand it’s got some great moments I haven’t seen in film in a while. First off. The time period is refreshing. Haven’t seen a 90s era cop film in a while and the feel of the film makes it seem like it was shot back then too. However, the editing and direction is extremely subpar to the point that scenes feel rushed and awkward. The dialogue isn’t terrible but it’s so directionless that the actors seem lost on screen. Not sure what the director was thinking cutting up the film like it’s an action scene for simple dialogue exposition scenes, which most of these scenes are. Major spoilers from here on out. Skip to overall section.
An old detective comes back into town to discover that the killer he tried to find years ago is still killing again. With a shady past himself, will the killer be discovered and will the detectives old secrets be even worse.
Firsr, they discover Leto way too quickly so the film wanders endlessly trying to pin him for the crimes. It’s like the film wants to speed past the important scenes so we can drag out catching the mad man but it feels more like we’re slowly going crazy ourselves. Also, flashing back to a better film didn’t do this any justice. It’s like putting a picture of you standing near you’re hotter friend on your dating app. What are you doing?
But then the ending comes and I liked it. This was the part that seemed to turn fans away but this was the best part of the film. It doesn’t do the best job at conveying the messages but it does convey the theme of the film. It’s that fine line between what’s good and what’s bad. To catch a predator you can’t be the prey. Maybe this is what the book is all about, haven’t read it, and this film is just copying and pasting a better source material but it was still good. There’s this se7en-esque ending that’s set up and is a kind of cheap knock off but it works. Basically, Leto’s character is killed by Raimi’s, I don’t know the characters names but doesn’t really matter, and they cover it up. You don’t know if Leto is truly the killer or not since he never says anything about killing them and tricks Raimi’s character into digging holes to “find one of the victims bodies”. Washington’s character also makes Raimi‘s character feel better by sending a red hair clip to Raimi, insinuating Leto had the last victims hair clip. There’s no final awesome resolution and it turns out Washington has done this before but way worse and would have been a better story. The ending shows the little things in this story matter and this ending was bound to happen. All of mistrust and Leto‘s careful eye to detail led to him never getting caught. The little things turn into a snowball effect.
The very composed nature of Washington’s character is eerie too and sets up a good dynamic as well. It’s that young jock vs the old dog. But, the problem is the film doesn’t set it up properly. The film treats it as we’ve seen and know Washington’s character. Any idea or method he uses is brand new to the audience but this film just speed runs through it. Raimi’s characters is very much the same. It seems like they had a great idea for a TV show but wanted to make a film instead. It’s an odd dose of taking too much time on the boring stuff we’ve seen a thousand times and speed running through important scenes like character development and chemistry between the two leads. The only really good thing about this film is the third act where things get interesting. Also, Leto‘s performance dances between being Oscar worthy and razzie worthy. This is sometimes even in the same scene and this all comes down to direction. A lot of this film would have been better if directed by a better director.
This isn’t horrible like people have said but it’s not good. There’s a good movie inside this one, should have just done the flashback one and have this film be the sequel, and it’s trying to get out throughout the film. The performances are as good as the direction allows it and the story does have room to be great but always falls short. It’s kind of sad because this could have been a great film, if helmed by better filmmakers.
Nick Cavuoti from Columbia, MD on April 08, 2021:
it very much felt like a movie out of time. The behind the scenes reflect that too. Nice write up!