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cast: Ashley Judd, Samuel L. Jackson, Andy Garcia, David Strathairn, and Russell Wong
director: Philip Kaufman
93 minutes (15) 2003
widescreen ratio 1.78:1
Paramount DVD Region 2 rental or retail

RATING: 5/10
reviewed by Ian Shutter
A watchable enough, yet unfortunately routine, murder mystery from the usually interesting Philip Kaufman, Twisted is a rather mediocre drama enlivened only by a few vaguely salacious elements. Like some glorified made-for-cable movie, it seems overproduced and fails to satisfy viewers' expectations, despite a top-notch cast.

Jessica (the divine Ashley Judd) is a tough-cookie cop newly promoted to a SFPD homicide division, where she earnestly tackles a serial killer case, while unnerved by the fact that she had slept with each of the victims. We are told that Jessica's mother was killed by her father, who then promptly committed suicide, and the police psychiatrist (David Strathairn) appears to think wanton but unhappy Jess might have somehow 'inherited' that violent impulse, and be about to follow her parents into an early grave. With her apparently drunken blackouts, the troubled Jessica soon realises she's the prime suspect but, predictably, this is only the first of a trawler-sized catch of red herrings...

Since starring in films like Kiss The Girls (1997), Double Jeopardy (1999), Eye Of The Beholder (1999), and High Crimes (2002) the formidably capable Ms Judd can probably handle feisty heroine roles in her sleep. In a couple of those earlier thrillers, Judd was teamed with the accomplished Morgan Freeman but, here, in a wholly underwritten role, Samuel Jackson fares less well. Garcia plays Jessica's sympathetic new partner in the homicide squad, where stereotypical locker room antics and risibly sexist behaviour reduce all the supporting male characters to proverbial hairless apes (insultingly shoddy writing on the part of scripter Sarah Thorp?). Twisted is surface gloss with precious little substance, and its wannabe feminist credentials appear hopelessly outdated now, especially since the likes of Blue Steel (1990) and Copycat (1995).

Kaufman directing Judd had me really wanting to like this but, frankly, it's so disappointing that I can't honestly recommend it to anyone but completists.

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