Grand Entertainment // 2012 // 108 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Judge Alice Nelson // September 6th, 2013
Not crazy, just evil.
There's a serial killer leaving bodies littered in the river along Highway 61 in Minnesota. FBI agent Rachel Cade (Emily Fradenburgh) is the lead on the H-61 murder case, and at the request of the local sheriff, she reluctantly brings retired profiler Saul Aiken (Gabriele Angieri) on as a consultant. But Aiken is abducted by the H-61 killer even before he can be of any real help. Now Rachel utilizes what little clues there are to save Saul before he becomes the killer's next victim.
Most of us have seen films about serial killers at one time or another; usually we're treated to a long string of brutal murders investigated by some hot shot FBI agent, then we wait for the plot to go through its usual paces, hoping that the big reveal is a surprise we didn't see coming. Profile of a Killer puts a bit of a twist on the serial killer theme by revealing the perpetrator early in the film, focusing more on the symbiotic relationship between two big egos: the killer and his profiler.
Profile of a Killer is a surprisingly good film, surprising in the sense that I had never heard of it, nor any of its cast of actors. Yet their performances are fantastic, particularly David, the H-61 Killer, played by Joey Pollari. This young man's list of credits is only a blip on the radar, but I suspect we will be seeing much more of him in the near future. His portrayal of David seems like a performance well beyond the 19 years he's been on the planet. David is both smart and vulnerable, a young man who has had every advantage in his life, yet turns to murder for reasons we are never privy to. What we do know is he believes he is smarter than anyone, including the police, and especially the profiler. This is a twisted guy who has honed his skill, now he wants to play a game with the well-respected Saul Aiken to see if the older man is as brilliant as they say. David is like an older and more sadistic version of the character Billy Mumy plays in The Twilight Zone episode "It's a Good Life" -- only amped up by about a million percent. David doesn't simply wish people into the cornfield, his destruction is hands on as well as murderous.
Angieri plays the cocky former profiler very well. The now successful author seems to empathize more with the killers he analyzes than the victims of these bastards. His character is not the usual empathetic victim, which makes it interesting when he becomes the captive of David; do we hope for his release or his demise? I'm not telling you what outcome I was hoping for. Both men think they can win the situation by the mere strength of their intelligence. As David tries to break his adversary, Saul refuses to see David as evil, believing that he can reason with a madman and save the sadistic killer from himself.
Fradenburgh plays FBI agent Rachel Cade with just the right amount of toughness and femininity. She isn't some chick trying to act like a man, but a woman who knows her job and does it well. Rachel's sympathies lie with the victims of H-61 killer, and she resents Aiken's compassionate take on murderers like David. Rachel's mission is simple: save Saul and stop the murderer before he strikes again.
This is the directorial debut by Caspian Tredwell-Owen (doesn't his name just scream "I'm English!?"), who is also the writer of the film. He has created characters whose stories ring true, and even though we enter their lives mid-stream, you don't get the feeling that you're missing something. The story is a bit unorthodox in comparison to big budget films of this type, but it flows well, and even it's more conventional ending is done in a way that is surprising and unexpected.
This 1.33: 1 standard def presentation is a fine transfer with crisp and clean images and the effective use of lighting techniques during the nighttime scenes. The Dolby 5.1 audio is spot on, with a wonderfully subtle soundtrack that doesn't overwhelm the dialogue. Unfortunately, there are no special features on this DVD, I would've loved to hear what Tredwell-Owen and his cast of talented unknowns had to say about their experiences filming Profile of a Killer.
Profile of a Killer is one of those under the radar films that should NOT be missed. Caspian Tredwell-Owen delivers an impressive film with an intriguing storyline, and solid performances by a talented cast of unknowns. If you get a chance to snag this little gem from Amazon or elsewhere, please do not hesitate -- you won't regret it.
This movie killed it. Not Guilty.
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Scales of Justice
Studio: Grand Entertainment
* Full Frame
* Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround (English)
* Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo (English)
Running Time: 108 Minutes
Release Year: 2012
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
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