a critiQal film review Twisted (2004)

  • DVD

Plot: Jessica (Judd) has just gotten promoted to police inspector. Battling alcoholism and haunted by memories of her serial killer father, she finds herself the prime suspect in her very first homicide investigation when her former lovers start dying around her at a furious pace.

Reviewed
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While perusing through the NetFlix® Instant Queue (as I’m prone to do), I came across the rather-forgotten thriller Twisted. I was about to pass it by – after all, neither Ashley Judd nor her co-star Andy Garcia are exactly favorites – when I noticed it also co-starred Samuel L. Jackson, who, if you’ve been following along, is one of our favorites.

So would Samuel L. Jackson help make Twisted a thriller I would be glad I’d finally seen, or should he – and I – have skipped this one altogether?

Ashley Judd stars as a recently promoted police detective (although the movie inexplicably uses the British ‘Inspector’ moniker instead), who gets caught up in her first homicide investigation. As usual, she seems to have everything she needs to get the viewer’s to care about her character, yet, for some odd reason, never actually manages to do so. Instead, viewers are left with a picture of a cold, rather promiscuous woman, who, despite being praised for being a smart detective, seems to not be able to actually detect anything.

Andy Garcia, on the other hand, is never really given a chance to do anything whatsoever with his character, mainly delegated to background noise (if seen at all) until the film decides to finally attempt to include him. His chemistry with Judd doesn’t seem to be there either, and the movie spends most of it’s time with the two of them trying to shove that missing chemistry down the viewer’s throat in a vain attempt to convince the viewer what they are witnessing is pure unadulterated passion.

Samuel L. Jackson is sorely misused as well, delivering a performance he could have easily done in his sleep, in a script that leaves a lot to be desired.

The biggest problem with the film seems to lie in it’s inability to get the viewer’s to connect to any of it’s characters. Instead, it seems a paint-by-numbers version of a thriller, detailing relationships through dialogue rather than body language, with the viewer getting the distinct impression that cue cards are being flashed just off-screen.

Without that connection with the characters, the viewer never really becomes interested in their plights, so is left with ample time to try to guess at the ending. The film does it’s best to throw as many red herrings out as possible, hoping one will distract the viewer from the rather obvious ending, but none of them ever quite take hold. Instead, the viewer is left with a film that spends most of it’s time either wallowing between trying to convince the viewer Ashley Judd is crazy and trying to make the viewer believe every man she knows is the actual killer.

This idea gets real old, real fast, and most should be able to look past the obvious dead-ender red herrings (including a sequence involving forensic scientist Camryn Manheim that, after a large build-up, never actually goes anywhere) to easily guess at the cliched ending of the film.

Nothing more than a paint-by-numbers thriller with another less-than-impressive performance by Ashley Judd, Twisted should have been passed on by Mr. Jackson when it landed in his lap. Hopefully, not too many viewers will make the same mistake – it’s just not worth it.

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