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||IMDB Rating: 6.0/10 from N/A votes
||Release: 18 Nov 2012 /
||Director: Caspian Tredwell-Owen,
||Synopsis: A retired FBI profiler is called in on a last case - only to find himself at the mercy of a teenage killer's deadly game. He must use all his skills and experience to save lives, including his own.
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Profile of a Killer is the ambitious directorial debut by British born
screenwriter Caspian Tredwell-Owen, he also penned the script. The film
is a serious look at the mind of a teenage serial killer, his captured
profiler and the people tracking him. While it still has some of the
welcomed clichés of the serial killer and police procedural drama
genres, it also does its best to dispense of them and try something
different. The main one being that we, the audience, discover the
identity of the killer fairly early on and from that moment the film
jumps between FBI agent Rachel Cade (Emily Fradenburgh) trying to track
him down and the killer, David (Joey Pollari) instigating a battle of
wits with his kidnapped profiler (Gabriele Angieri).
It was apparently intended as a studio project but when financing fell
through Tredwell-Owen relocated to Minnesota, got a fantastic, local
cast together and a fairly extensive crew, for an indie production, and
they all took the project on themselves. The gamble appears to have
paid off as a solid script, some excellent performances, beautifully
real cinematography and strong production values has propelled this
taught drama onto the big screen across America and onto DVD using a
word of mouth, grass roots campaign that continues today with humble
blogs like mine receiving screeners and doing reviews.
I am happy to report that this film was well worth the watch. I was
impressed by its visual flair. The snowy farm land and freeways of
Minnesota, while, of course, conjuring up some favourable comparisons
to the Coen Brother's Fargo, also remained feeling very fresh,
different and unique to this film. The set dressing and art direction
of the farm house, where the majority of the action takes place, is
pleasingly run down and filled with texture. It's also lit and shot in
an evocative and vibrant way, creating depth and shadow, as well as a
sense of unease. You can feel the bone chilling cold and the rough
harsh surfaces of this unforgiving building.
The performances prove, once and for all, that you don't need a big
name star to present compelling characters on screen. For one half, the
film is a riveting two hander between Joey Pollari's David and Gabriele
Angieri's Saul. Both actors enthrall with their range and ability and
even when, in the long second act, the dialogue gets quite complex and
wordy, throwing the pacing off somewhat, their acting never wavers for
a second and is always impressive to watch. The other half of the film
is focused on the FBI and local police's attempts to track them both
down, lead by Emily Fradenburgh's dedicated and dead pan agent Cade.
She is the determined centre of this story and it can be a thankless
task because while Fradenburgh's performance is pleasingly assured,
serious and earnest, she can, sometimes, lack an emotional core. There
are a couple of scenes in the film, a throwaway plot strand about her
father and the death of someone close, that maybe could've used some
beefing up, so that she could show the wearing affect of her steadfast
dedication to the job but those are small complaints overall. The cast
of characters she is surrounded by or interviews are also resoundingly
great and you're never thrown from the film because of some unfortunate
dialogue delivery that can, sadly, derail even the most well
intentioned low budget film.
The writing is strong and the dialogue authentic. The procedural
elements of the police work felt real and without the usual
over-the-top flashes that TV so often employs. The same can be said for
the back and forth dialogue in the farm house. The questions, the
actions and the reactions were different from what you'd expect as,
usually, they would be ramped up and accompanied by an overly dramatic
score but here they play out naturally. This makes these scenes
disconcerting as you can't second guess what will happen next, which
adds to the tension. The script is definitely clever and never overly
The film makes excellent use of the budget and it feels like every
penny is on screen in the right place. There are authentic police cars,
a helicopter, a delivery van and a variety of locations. There are also
some nice, gruesome effects and while it's not exactly excessively gory
or exploitative, the deaths are uniquely twisted and macabre.
I have to admit that the overly serious tone, pacing and length of the
film are not usually my cup of tea. I also found some of the dialogue
and drama during the mid section of the film to be a little confusing
as I'm not sure I bought strongly into the mental cat and mouse as much
as I would've liked. The ending was good though and the ultimate irony
well thought out and haunting. This is definitely a film to track down
on-demand or for rent as it really has a lot to offer and projects like
this need to be supported.
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