Starring: Morgan Freeman, Ashley Judd, Cary Elwes, Tony Goldwyn
Director: Gary Fleder
I can’t remember if I’ve raved about Morgan Freeman before in a prior review – perhaps in my previous site and all it’s now lost material – but he is without a doubt one of the finest actors ever. Even in a rather rotten film he can keep his head above water while everyone else has to hold their breath. He returns here in a dark thriller that ironically steals inspiration from the excellent “Seven”.
Alex Cross (Freeman) is a psychologist with the Washington DC police who is helping them to investigate a series of kidnappings in Durham, North Carolina. When his niece is kidnapped, he flies to Durham to get more personally involved. He discovers that the kidnapper calls himself ‘Casanova’ (‘the great lover’ Morgan explains – clearly a case of the writer underestimating the audience) and one of his victims is then found dead, tied to a tree.
A rash of bodies is expected but don’t materialise. The reason for this is discovered when one of the abductees, Dr Kate McTiernan (Judd), escapes and tells of her experiences. She reports that she was kept in an underground warren of cells somewhere in the forest along with all the other girls that have been abducted. She then teams up with Cross in order to help capture the twisted abductor.
I have a major problem with this film and it doesn’t directly involve Judd or Freeman who are both very good here. In movies of this ilk, it is crucial to be able to fully explore the psyche of the “bad guy”. In this case there are a couple of characters that need better explination as does the relationship that exists between them. While this is left hanging as it is, it is difficult to understand exactly why certain things are as they are. It’s all too easy for movies to say ‘it just is’. I don’t accept that.
With the exception of Freeman and Judd, it’s all a bit “b-list” in terms of cast, writing and direction. Some of it is quite nerve racking and inventive but for the most part it’s mundane and unspectacular.
Kudos to Mr Freeman and Ms Judd but C- to everyone else. Must do better.