Director: Damián Szifron
Cast: Shailene Woodley, Ben Mendelsohn, Jovan Adepo, Ralph Ineson
Runtime: 1 hr 59 mins
Rating: NC16 (Violence and Some Mature Content)
Released By: Shaw Organisaton
Opening Day: 27 April 2023
Synopsis: Eleanor (Woodley) is a modern-day Clarice Starling, a young investigator wrestling with the demons of her past, when she’s called to the scene of a brutal crime—the work of a new and terrifying mass murderer. The police and FBI launch a desperate nationwide manhunt but are thwarted at every turn by the killer’s enigmatic, unprecedented behavior. Despite her relative inexperience, Eleanor is drawn deeper and deeper into the case, as she and her colleagues realize that she may be the only person, given her own tortured psyche, who can understand the mind of this singular killer and bring him to justice.
Who would have thought that being part of solving a vicious crime could get you really involved and invested?
To Catch A Killer is about a young investigator who was called to a brutal crime scene caused by a suspected mass murderer, who realises, with the help of her superiors, that she might be the key to solving the mystery and understanding the killer’s motive, given her past.
Despite the rather suggestive title, To Catch A Killer is not fully an action-thriller film, but more of a slight psychological thriller film. It does not bombard the viewer with action- packed features and explosive gestures, but rather takes on a more sympathetic approach with calculated and focused scenes.
The film is paced rather slow, possibly to capture a more empathetic and softer angle toward the characters in the film, especially the protagonist and antagonist of the film. But apart from some thrills and a few jump scares, which actually capture the viewer’s attention and keeps one rather glued, it somewhat does not entirely draw the viewers in.
The plot is slight choppy and although it wants to keep viewers at the edge of their seats, it seems to create more doubt and uncertainty and viewers are left with even more mystery with not much room for self-analysis and deduction, as some of the scenes does not seem sensible or logical. Perhaps it was meant to portray certain possibilities and thought processes, but it did not seem to gel up too well.
The film also relies heavily on dialogue to sustain the flow and the momentum of the film, filling one with countless words. Viewers may or may not be able to grasp the dialogue completely, not because of the nature of the film, but because of the already choppy plot.
Character development for the film, although present, lacks a certain depth that entices the viewers and one is left hanging to comprehend the bits and pieces that trails behind. One feels like in fact, there is more mystery than clarity and most would feel that they may not fully understand or empathise with the protagonist a lot.
Despite that, some characters are generally portrayed well and possibly in a positive way without the pre-notion of biases generally portray in regular media, although parts of the film does showcase some biases typical of the crime genre.
The cinematography is generally pleasant, as it is with the effects and the cast, who actually did perform with such realism and conviction. But even that only help to make the film barely entertaining and intriguing.
Overall, To Catch A Killer actually had the potential to be stellar with a tinge of compassion. but its near stagnant pace, together with rather wordy dialogue and draggy scenes, made it impossible to fully love and appreciate the supposed diversity of the film. In balancing itself between it all, it falls flat and ends up being more mysterious and bewildering than it should be.
(A rather slow-tempo film with a rather slow build-up and much more mystery than it can handle. You might consider watching during weekdays if you want to watch it)
Review by Ron Tan