Anthony's Film Review
Profile of a Killer (2012)
This independently produced crime thriller greatly exceeded my expectations...
Profile of a Killer is a crime thriller that will send chills down your spine and force you to hold your breath in fearful anticipation. What's incredible is that this is an independently financed and produced picture. Some independent films might not make the cut because of low quality, but this one is different. Not only does it make the cut. It makes the cut as a rare gem among productions with budgets smaller than those of big studio films.
In just the first couple of minutes, the film presents us with a grisly murder. In Minnesota, a partially decomposed skeleton is discovered in a frozen pond. To make matters worse, there are other victims with similar fates, spread across multiple geographic locales. This is a case where forensics alone are not enough. The expertise of a profiler, someone who can figure out the killer's mindset from whatever information is available, is definitely needed. That's where retired profiler Saul Aitken, played by Gabriele Angieri, comes into play.
The film moves at a quick pace, which is appropriate for a thriller like this one. Many camera shots are no longer than five seconds, but thankfully, the frequent jumps from one shot to the next shouldn't make the audience feel dizzy. After a while, you get used to it and become fully engrossed in the story, which, by the way, does get a lot better. And I mean a LOT better.
In a chilling twist, Saul is kidnapped and comes face-to-face with the killer. The real shock is the killer's age. It's a teenage boy named David Jenks, played by Joey Pollari, whose cold facial expression clearly indicates a person who is sadistic and has no regard for human life. He is so scary that he is reminiscent of Norman Bates from the classic thriller Psycho. As a manipulative person, David plays a mind game with Saul, by showing him pictures of potential victims and making him predict which one will die next.
Meanwhile, FBI agent Rachel Cade, played by Emily Fradenburgh, works to catch the killer, whom, by this time, the news media has dubbed the H-61 Killer, referring to the Minnesota highway connected to the murders. Time is critical given that Saul is in the killer's captivity. Plus, the killer could strike anywhere, prompting various law enforcement agencies to come together on the case and cover all bases.
Profile of a Killer was written and directed by Caspian Tredwell-Owen, a filmmaker hailing from the United Kingdom. Despite having very few film credits before this one, he demonstrates great skill and talent with this film. The plot moves along with plenty of twists and turns, and the look of the film is just stunning. I am very impressed with it all.
As for the cast, everyone deserves much credit, especially Gabriele Angieri, Joey Pollari, and Emily Fradenburgh. The actors and actresses play their roles naturally, making their characters come alive with realism. For me, the characters who especially stand out are Saul and David. The tension between them is palpable. There is suspense as we wonder what Saul or David might say or do next, which one gains the upper hand, what might have turned David into the killer he is now, and even whether Saul could actually reach out to this young boy.
This review is based on an advanced online screening of the film, which I had the honor of being invited to. (In fact, this is the first time I have ever reviewed an independent film not widely released in theaters, if at all.) Based on my observations and thoughts, I'm happy to say that my rating for this movie is the highest one on my scale. Profile of a Killer is intense, chilling, and undeniably frightening. I am even going as far as to say that it's comparable to The Silence of the Lambs, one of the best crime thriller movies ever made. If I were in a position to decide whether this film deserves a wide release, I would say yes in a heartbeat. Profile of a Killer is a movie you do not want to miss.
For more information about Profile of a Killer, visit the Internet Movie Database.