To Catch A Killer is a crime film set in Baltimore. The plot revolves around a serial killer responsible for the death of over 20 people by sniping on New Year's Eve. We have a female beat cop as our protagonist who along with the FBI tries to unveil the mask behind this serial killer. The film takes place in Baltimore. It was directed by Damián Szifron and stars actors such as Shailene Woodley (as Eleanor Falco), Ben Mendelsohn (as Geoffrey Lammark), and Jovan Adepo (as Mackenzie, an FBI agent) among others.
I have to say that the initial setup of the film is very fascinating and intriguing even. It all starts with people having a good time on New Year's Eve, which is interrupted by random snipes. As bodies drop one by one there is complete chaos and our protagonist Eleanor, who is at a cafe during the time is also called to the spot. The way Eleanor storms onto the scene after we see snipes and then a bomb blast followed immediately. It really feels like a setup that has something going for it. The scene is followed by the investigation unit bursting onto the scene of the crime (where the perp was sniping from). The way everything is shot and the color grading as well make it seem like a really well-produced film.
The film essentially has Eleanor working with the FBI to solve the case and catch the killer. This film feels extremely generic despite the cool setup. The characters are not developed well and only exist as archetypes. One such archetype is our Ben Mendelsohn character Geoffrey Lammark, a very cliche tough man cop (his only differentiating factor from other such characters is that he is gay). Lammark's reasoning behind why he lets a supposed beat cop join an FBI-level investigation is a little bizarre I feel. He essentially overhears her speculations and is impressed how she inclines to his train of thought that it isn't a terrorist organization but instead a single perp. She is then accompanied by a rather amicable Mackenzie (who is one of the highlights of this rather predictable affair). The acting of Eleanor is very cardboard and one-dimensional which makes it difficult for her to be likable. The dialogue is also pretty amusing in negative ways.
Something feels off about the plot and writing of this film. There are certain films made with intentions that are beyond entertainment and a good time. This film falls into that category as it tries to provide a critique of the system that persists in Western states. Where the common man is taken for a ride by the system and the people on top of that system. Our killer (who I won't describe much since I don't want to spoil the reveal) is one such victim of this system. The point it tries to drive is intriguing and something that might invoke a sense of interest for some people, but it also feels a little too over the top for a film like this. It is not an overwhelming film, all in all, it works in technical aspects. The scenes are well-lit, shot, and produced with great color grading. Even the sound design is nice. However, the artistic parts of the film are a little lacking and predictable. I have a genuine urge to spoil the ending because I want to describe the reason behind why the killer did what he did, but then once you discover it, I am sure you'll be disappointed. So I'll leave it open for you.
It is essentially a decent crime thriller with a rather generic plot and a heavy political critique undertone. It is enjoyable to some extent, but I wouldn't watch it again because it doesn't offer anything too special.
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