To get a stamp of approval in making a motion picture thriller you have to
address three basic points of interest. Is it original? Is it predictable?
Do you care about the characters involved? This is pretty much the rule for
all movies but with thrillers there is a tendancy for the tension factor to
run higher than other films. 'Kiss the Girls' pretty much succeeds as a
clever film but it borders on repetition in many circumstances.
The story begins in Washington D.C., and Morgan Freeman plays a D.C. police
oficer but his official title is forensic psychologist and his niece is
missing and the worst fear of the family is that she's dead. His search
takes him to North Carolina where the audience witnesses the abduction of a
young doctor (Ashley Judd) and she is taken to a forest hideaway where the
abductor has imprisoned young women separately like in a jail and taunts them
with promises of his sexual prowess.
As a movie critic I refuse to write spoiler reviews so you'll have to see the
rest of this movie to follow its sprawling second half. Morgan Freeman plays
the role of the cop in much the same fashion he did in 1995's 'Seven' and
since I despised that film, I tried to look deeper into the merits of this
film. It does have good psychological tension and Freeman does carry the
story well for most of the film and much credit should be given to Ashley
Judd whose portrayal of the victim is very convincing.
I don't know about you but the one thing I hate the most in story telling
whether it's a book, play, television piece or big screen movie is the red
herring factor. If you don't know what that means it refers to throwing
something at the audience without them seeing it coming. One of the most
intense recent examples of this was in 1996's 'From Dusk Till Dawn' which
started out as a great crime story but took a bizarre and ridiculous turn at
becoming a vampire flick with junky results. 'Kiss the Girls' has a unique
visual style and impressive direction by Gary Fleder who hints at what may
occur next without it being a dead giveaway.
'Kiss the Girls' re-unites Morgan Freeman with Cary Elwes who both appeared
in the American Civil War classic 'Glory' from 1989. Other members of the
cast include Tony Goldwyn and Jay O. Sanders. This movie is not recommended
for anyone that has ever had a criminal encounter involving abduction. It is
vividly shocking and contains chilling scenes of terror which is not for all
tastes. For others, you'll find it hard at times to leave your seat.
Copyright © 1997 Walter Frith