"Texas Killing Fields" Fails To Live Up To Its Name
Based on the novel with the same title, "Texas Killing Fields" follows two mismatched detectives, Mike and Brian(Worthington and Morgan)as they investigate the abduction and murders of local women. While in real life the crimes spanned over 30 years and accounted for over 60 victims, the movie focuses on only two murders that happen within days of each other and the subsequent abduction of a scrappy young girl named Anne (Moretz) who the two detectives have come to know and look after. Despite the constant references to the Killing Fields and the atrocities that have taken place there, the movie never taps into the full potential of the setting and the white knuckle effect it could have had on the audience.
The storyline is mostly used to develop (poorly) its male characters instead of the female victim’s stories. The males are portrayed as dominant characters opposite weak drug addict mothers, push over prostitutes and easy targets. The only exception to this rule is the exceptionally tough skinned Anne. Even Pam ( Jessica Chastain), Mike’s ex-wife and fellow police detective cannot help but beg for her male counterparts to solve the crime.
Aside from the powerful performance by Moretz and the jump-out-of-your-seat thrilling break in that takes place in the first 20 minutes, the movie is full of wasted potential and moments that fail to arrive. Attempts to lead the audience away from the obvious lack ingenuity and the use of scenery to set suspense feel forced. What was originally dubbed as a movie “too dark to be made” by its first director (Danny Boyle) plays out like a washed out cop film that fails to answer half the questions it presents. The final blow comes in the form of the trite “several months later” black screen that is used to tie up the story with a neat ending for a movie that never really began.
Originally unveiled at the Venice Film Festival to mediocre reviews, "Texas Killing Fields" is set for limited theatrical release in the beginning of October. Unless the sight of Sam Worthington is worth $15 to you, I’d wait until a re-run on TNT.
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