To Catch A Killer

  • 17 Jun - 23 Jun, 2023
  • Mag The Weekly
  • Reviews

The highly praised and Oscar-nominated film Wild Tales director Damian Szifron's To Catch a Killer falls short of his previous works in terms of quality, but it nevertheless provides a pleasurable experience thanks to Ben Mendelsohn and Shailene Woodley's enthralling turns. Despite being more of a criminal drama than a murder mystery, it features a gripping whodunit for the most of its running duration. After the killer's identity is revealed, the movie veers off course and takes a less-than-entertaining turn in its final minutes. It follows a tried-and-true formula while adopting the slow-burning manner of a standard police procedural as an action-packed drama.

The plot of the movie is around a sinister assassin who goes on a horrifying killing spree on New Year's Eve, killing 29 people. The sniper remains hidden by cunningly using the sounds of fireworks as a cover. A disturbed young police officer named Eleanor (Shailene Woodley) is able to locate the sniper. The sniper blows up the flat and departs the scene, preventing their attempt to gather proof. FBI top investigator Lammark (Ben Mendelsohn) is tasked with leading the investigation as the case gains notice. He adds Eleanor to the team of investigators since he was impressed by her early involvement and saw potential in her. Unfortunately, Lammark's bosses' preference for satisfying the public above resolving the issue undermines their painstaking efforts. They are consequently excluded from the investigation. Undaunted, Lammark and Eleanor continue their investigation separately and make great strides, eventually locating the murderer and visiting his home. The plot takes an unexpected turn at this turning point, adding a new level of intricacy to the story. Damian Szifron, the director, captivates audiences right away by creating a tense and scary atmosphere that promises an amazing cinematic experience. The opening scenes of the movie raise interest and give a sneak preview of the exhilarating rollercoaster ride to come. The shooting sequences avoid excessive theatrics and are handled with a raw realism that effectively sends shivers down the audience's spine. The killer and Eleanor's final showdown, however, brings up a serious issue. The murderer engages in a monologue in which he discusses the morality of his deeds and offers them as a remedy for the global problems. This particular sequence is designed in a way that discreetly encourages viewers to sympathise with the killer's techniques and find agreement with his beliefs, potentially provoking a reaction of division among viewers. Shailene Woodley, who gained fame with Big Little Lies, gives a good performance as a troubled cop with suicidal tendencies. Her portrayal and Angelina Jolie's in The Bone Collector will undoubtedly be compared by viewers as examples of the difficulties and complexity of the job. Eleanor's character is given more depth by Woodley's genuineness, despite the fact that she may not have completely perfected it. Ben Mendelsohn, as Lammark, steals the show, though. Viewers respond favourably to his portrayal of a nonconformist officer at conflict with his own organisation. The chemistry between Woodley and Mendelsohn is evident on screen, as he completely inhabits the role of a man absorbed by his work. Their engaging conversation really enhances the overall impact of the movie. Unfortunately, To Catch a Killer falls short in its third act when it explores the killer's motivations in an effort to win the viewer over. This narrative decision ultimately diminishes the movie, diminishing its impact and undermining its earlier virtues.