TO CATCH A KILLER
Starring: Shailene Woodley, Ben Mendelsohn, Jovan Adepo, and Ralph Ineson
Director: Damián Szifron
Just because a movie is nothing more than a genre formula doesn’t mean it can’t be watchable, and To Catch a Killer is content to live by that ideal. Yeah, it’s generic and feels like a movie Ashley Judd would have starred in 25 years ago, but it hits all the buttons for people who enjoy movies like Kiss the Girls. The acting is serviceable, and the direction offers a few standout shots, but otherwise, this is like watching Law & Order reruns: a disposable manhunt story that will come and go with little fanfare, but still be enough to distract on a lazy afternoon.
To Catch a Killer is an above average psychological thriller that will keep its audience alert while they learn the true nature of what it might be like to catch a murderer. The film becomes so much more than its overall premise, even though it admittedly goes a little off the rails in the third act. Still, while it may not break any new ground in the genre, it manages to hold its own. Overall, it’s a simple yet compelling story, built on high tension and underrated performances from Shailene Woodley and Ben Mendelsohn.
Ben Mendelsohn brings what he can to the table, but the simple fact is To Catch a Killer’s script is far too underbaked to rise to his or Shailene Woodley’s level. The film has intrigue, but doesn’t seem especially interested in getting to know its characters beyond their basic story functions. Frankly, Woodley’s performance may be one of her most underrated, as she manages to keep viewers watching even when she really has nothing to bite into in terms of depth. All told, this film isn’t boring, per se, but it does ultimately feel pretty empty by its conclusion.