UK release date: Mar 26 2008

cast list

Ashley Judd
Samuel L Jackson
Andy Garcia
David Strathairn

directed by
Philip Kaufman
Jessica Shepard (Ashley Judd) is a newly promoted Homicide Inspector in San Francisco who is on the verge of a mental breakdown. Each night over a full bottle of wine she fixates on memorabilia of her deceased parents, especially focusing on a photo of her father.

He went on a killing spree in which the final victims was his wife and himself, leaving Jessica to be raised by John Mills (Samuel L. Jackson), her father’s former colleague who is now the police commissioner.

Jessica is promiscuous and enjoys rough sex with the many random men she picks up from bars and sleeps with. Suddenly, corpses begin to appear around the city and Jessica realizes through flashbacks that she was intimate with the deceased men. Suspicion arouses and as a consequence of her excessive drinking and nightly black outs, she is unable to exonerate herself and becomes the primal suspect.

So much time here is spent shifting suspicion from one character to another that it becomes farcical and tiresome. From the viewer’s position there are a handful of suspects, almost everyone is in the spotlight – Jessica’s therapist, her partner, her surrogate father/boss, and her persistent ex-boyfriend – but frankly you won’t care who did it because the characters are so unlikable and stereotypical. Her new partner, Mike Delmarco (Andy Garcia) is the slightly seedy cop who lives in a boathouse, her ex-boyfriend/fellow cop is the jealous stalker, while Jackson plays the tough/experienced cop who can walk on water and has eyes at the back of his head.

Perhaps the central flaw with the film is its attempt at political correctness. Basically Twisted tries to explain the role of women in a male dominated work place – not only that, but it tries to say that if women do not act like good girls and stop having one night stands then all this trouble will happen to you, which is rather patronising and offensive.

Philip Kaufman’s direction is lifeless and ordinary, lacking style and finesse. For most of the duration, Twisted looks like a cheap TV movie that can be seen on an almost daily schedule on Channel 5 and UK Living.

Samuel L. Jackson tries to redeem himself with a fairly sturdy performance but falls short because his character is so underwritten. It’s a similar story with Andy Garcia who just seems to be going through the motions, his character fails to offer any exercise for his talent. As for Ashley Judd’s role, Jessica appears to be so vulnerable and lifeless that it is difficult to imagine she could sleep with so many men, let alone have rough sex with them. It’s not the actor’s fault, but the film simply isn’t any good.

The hammy script from first time screenwriter Sarah Thorp, reeks of clichs and laziness: the cop as prime suspect storyline (Sea Of Love) and psychosexual thriller (Fatal Attraction, Basic Instinct) is old and worn out. Like this year’s earlier release Taking Lives, Twisted is a feeble, uninspiring, and frankly boring serial killer thriller.

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