out of 4
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Review by Harvey Karten
2 stars out of 4
If you moved to California, in what city of town would you live?
Would you prefer sunny Santa Barbara to chilly San Francisco?
After seeing "Twisted," you'll opt for the sun, and this is a
compliment to cinematographer Peter Deming who, with the
help of Mark Isham's music gives that city the noirish feel so
necessary to cynical police dramas. The opposite side of the
coin is that the hackneyed use of such an ambiance is often
accompanied by trite dialogue leading to awfully silly and
unintentionally funny scenes. In directing "Twisted," Philip
Kaufman, giving life to Sarah Thorp's screenplay, cannot rise
too far above the risible, not a good omen for a tale of a serial
Featuring Ashley Judd in virtually every scene the actress
coiffed in a modishly short style "Twisted" focuses on a woman
who has risen through the ranks to be one of San Francisco's
elite detective inspectors, homicide division. Though a cop is
never off-duty, Jessica Shepard (Judd) lays her gun aside
frequently to avoid scaring off numbers of men whom she picks
up at a bar for stretches of casual canoodling. Though she
looks nothing like Aileen Wormus, if her per diem dates had any
idea of the consequences of these meetings, they'd stay far
away, since one by one the men are found beaten to a pulp (for
all we know Mel Gibson could have been an uncredited
consultant). Since they had in common their liaisons with
Jessica, guess who's the leading suspect?
Jessica's life is a mess. She blacks out frequently after
drinking wine, with no memory of what she may have done
before these episodes of unconsciousness, wondering whether
the police are indeed on the right track in busting her for murder.
Her meteoric rise results partly from her ability to describe what
she sees in detail with just a glance, but more from her
connection with police commissioner John Mills (Samuel L.
Jackson) who raised her as his own when his former partner,
Jessica's father, apparently went on a jealous rampage killing
his own wife and then himself. Twists and turns, a staple of the
genre, have us suspecting Jessica's insistent ex-boyfriend,
Jimmy (Mark Pelligrino) and even her partner, the self-assured
and comely Mike Delmarco (Andy Garcia). Not even the shrink
appointed by the department to get to the bottom of Jessica's
blackouts, Dr. Frank (David Straithaim), is of much help to
anyone and, in fact, confuses the issues even further.
There's nothing original in the script or particularly impressive
about the performances in this run-of-the-mill drama, which in its
laziness concludes with one of Roger Ebert's notorious
cliches the gunman who gets himself into serious trouble by
talking too much.
Copyright © 2004 Harvey Karten
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